Five dead in Solomon Islands riots

Written by Staff Writer

JERUSALEM — At least five people were reported dead in the Solomon Islands on Sunday as political protests rocked the country for a third day.

As law enforcement officials struggled to contain the riots and violence in Honiara, the Solomons government issued a national state of emergency.

Authorities in Honiara told CNN that all workers and ministry staff were to stay home.

State of emergency declared in Solomon Islands after deadly riots — Bloomberg (@business) November 4, 2018

The anger and unrest erupted in Honiara on Saturday night after the prime minister, Rick Hou, was voted out.

Witnesses said that crowds set fire to five buildings, including government offices, restaurants and tourist attractions, and shot at police. At least 17 people were injured, according to the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.

Hou was only reinstated by parliament in July and was battling charges of misconduct and fraudulent land deals as well as an undeclared conflict of interest.

Tensions have been rising in the country in recent months and in September, three protesters were shot dead during clashes with police.

Solomon Islands, located south of Australia and northeast of Papua New Guinea, is one of the poorest nations in the world.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has launched a $47 million emergency assistance project in Solomon Islands and suggested that the capital, Honiara, should be included in the program because it is “the hub of the system,” said Jean Stopham, the UNDP’s country director for the Pacific.

Stopham said that providing housing, healthcare, power and water, education and jobs were urgently needed to enable people to return to normal.

Hou is expected to visit Honiara on Monday after the police commissioner raised the number of casualties to 13 on Sunday, according to Tapi’u Koana, director of information at the Department of Government Communication Services.

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