30 Nov 2010

Police on alert after Solomons minister jailed

10:51 pm on 30 November 2010

Police with the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands remain on alert in the capital Honiara on Tuesday after rioting took place following the sentencing of a cabinet minister.

Supporters of former militant Jimmy Lusibaea threw stones at police outside the High Court after he was sentenced to two years and nine months' jail for charges related to the ethnic tensions.

A correspondent for Radio New Zealand International says RAMSI officers were initially in the firing line.

Dorothy Wickham reports two officers from New Zealand were in a truck pelted with stones, but they managed to get out of the area.

Rioting by different groups of youths quickly spread into the city before police brought the situation under control using tear gas and road blocks.

She says people feared a riot similar to the one that caused widespread destruction in April 2006.

Police deputy commissioner Walter Kola says 37 people have been arrested on Tuesday.