1 Dec 2021

New Zealand forces deployed to Solomon Islands

7:18 pm on 1 December 2021

The New Zealand government is deploying dozens of Defence Force and police personnel to Honiara in the coming days, "to help restore peace and stability".

Thursday saw more looting and burning in the Solomon Islands capital Honiara as local police were overwhelmed by angry mobs. November 2021

Thursday saw more looting and burning in the Solomon Islands capital Honiara as local police were overwhelmed by angry mobs. November 2021 Photo: Solomons/Facebook

Since rioting and looting started in the Solomon Islands last week, Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea have sent troops to help keep the peace there.

An initial NZDF team of 15 will joint them tomorrow, followed by a larger group of 50 at the weekend.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the response is short-term and to help restore peace and stability.

"New Zealand is committed to its responsibilities and playing its part in upholding regional security," she said in a statement.

"We are deeply concerned by the recent civil unrest and rioting in Honiara, and following yesterday's request of the Solomon Islands government, we have moved quickly to provide urgent assistance.

"Every deployment brings its risks and challenges, but our people have vast experience in the Pacific region and are amongst some of the most highly skilled when it comes to deescalating conflict," Ardern said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said New Zealand had a deep and long-standing relationship with the Solomon Islands.

"New Zealand will send a deployment of New Zealand Defence Force and New Zealand Police to Solomon Islands in the coming days. This is a short-term, immediate response and we will continue to monitor the situation," Mahuta said in a statement.

Samoan police are also on standby to send personnel to assist peacekeeping forces.

The unrest stemmed from a protest calling for the removal of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and left major destruction in the capital.

Solomon Islands prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare.

Solomon Islands prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare. Photo: Solomon Islands Government Communications Unit

All New Zealand personnel deploying to Solomon Islands are required to be double vaccinated, have had a negative Covid-19 test before departure and adhere to Solomon Islands Covid-19 testing protocols. They will complete managed isolation on their return.

The New Zealand High Commission in Honiara is providing SafeTravel advice to New Zealanders in Solomon Islands, including that they should follow the instructions and advice of local authorities and exercise care.