18 May 2014

Solomons rioters fuelled by alcohol

5:17 pm on 18 May 2014

A group of people who staged riots over the past two nights in eastern Honiara in Solomon Islands are now being quarantined in the area.

The rioting led to extensive damage of a shopping centre.

Our correspondent Dorothy Wickham says it is clear that at least some of the rioters are victims of last month's floods and had been at the adjacent camp in the National University.

She says they have been unhappy at moves by the National Disaster Management Office and international relief agencies to shut down most of the evacuation centres.

There are also suggestions they thought the government was going to pay each family 20,000 Solomons dollars, or nearly 3,000 US dollars, to help them move back to their homes.

People from the nearby Burns Creek area are also thought to have been involved.

Dorothy Wickham says several businesses, mostly owned by Chinese, were wrecked but the initial target was the bottle shop in the complex.

"So they raided that first, took out all the alcohol that was in his stock, went off and drank it, got more drunk and then came back and lit the place. That is the sequence of events that I understand."

Dorothy Wickham.