29 Mar 2012

US training Solomons' police to defuse unexploded munitions

2:45 pm on 29 March 2012

The United States consular agent to Solomon Islands says the US is committed to ongoing training of local police to safely remove unexploded munitions remaining from World War II.

Keithie Saunders says a joint operation with the Australian government has been underway for the past eighteen months to educate the Royal Solomon Island Police Force.

She says a recently approved second phase of funding will take another year before the police are fully qualified to United Nations standards.

"'Its quite an extensive programme, its being funded by our State Department Small Arms Division, on our side. We've got trainers out here, we're building a school. And eventually the Solomon Island Police will be so upskilled they'll be able to train other Pacific Islanders in handling their own weapons disposal."

Keithie Saunders says the police handle twenty to thirty cases of buried munitions each month as land is cleared to accommodate the growing population.