30 Oct 2019

Solomons police join regional contingent bound for Bougainville

11:06 am on 30 October 2019

Two police officers from Solomon Islands have left the country to join a regional police contingent to support next month's Bougainville independence referendum.

No caption

Photo: RNZ/Koroi Hawkins

The Bougainville Referendum Regional Police Support Mission is to arrive in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region before the start of polling.

The overall contingent of almost 30 police is to be led by New Zealand and also consists of personnel from Australia, Fiji and Vanuatu.

Two officers from Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Francis Ramoni and Marcillar Haga have flown to Wellington to join other officers in the mission.

The contingent flies to Bougainville next week and will stay through polling, which begins on 23 November and runs for about two weeks, before departing after the vote count in mid-December.

All participating countries in the police mission were signatories to the 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement.

"The RSIPF feels honoured and privileged to be included in this unarmed police mission to advise and support the Bougainville Police Service during the referendum next month," said RSIPF Commissioner Matthew Varley.

"Police from the region including Australia and New Zealand assisted Solomon Islands under the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) come out from what is now referred to as the social unrest assisting the RSIPF to what it is now, a strong and capable police force.

"It is only fitting that RSIPF officers assist another Melanesian neighbour in such a time."

The regional police support mission is part of New Zealand's $NZ4.3 million package of support towards the referendum, which will take place from 23 November.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs