11 Apr 2019

Solomon Islands police arrest five over election violence

11:56 am on 11 April 2019

Solomon Islands police have arrested five people over election-related violence in Guadalcanal province.

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Photo: RNZ/Koroi Hawkins

News of the arrests comes amid an investigation into the death of a man who drowned after getting into an argument over the election.

Police said the five suspects were arrested on Monday, after two groups fought over the announcement of a winning candidate.

Provincial Police Commander Evelyn Thugea said 10 people in West Guadalcanal went to a nearby village demanding compensation.

The group confronted three young men, swearing at them and throwing rocks and two other boys were shot and injured in the altercation.

Ms Thugea said the offenders had been charged with intimidation, malicious damage and assault.

They were released on bail and will appear in the Honiara Central Magistrates Court on 29 April.

The 10 men had supported a candidate who had won and had claimed supporters in the other village had insulted them before results were confirmed, according to police.

"Now that the voting and the declaration of winning candidates has been declared in a peaceful democratic process, I appeal to the good people of Guadalcanal to work together with our elected leaders for the betterment of our Province," said Ms Thugea.

Meanwhile, police say they have managed to contain tensions between rival groups over the drowning on Monday.

The man's body was transported to Honiara by relatives and a post mortem carried out on Wednesday afternoon, according to Assistant Police Commissioner Simpson Pogeav.

He allegedly died after swimming from Sulufou island in Malaita province to a nearby island after getting into an argument with a supporter of another election candidate.

"The relatives of the deceased have accepted the cause of death as drowning but a death enquiry file has been opened for further enquiries into the cause of the death," he said.

"The situation on Sulufou Island is reported as calm."