Solomon Islands under state of emergency after violent riots and deadly violence

Thousands of Solomon Islanders remain on lockdown in the capital, Honiara, as tensions rise among ethnic and religious rivalries in the troubled islands. Rioters burned dozens of shops and vehicles on Saturday, and more than 800 people have been detained in connection with the unrest. Rioters are believed to have been targeting police, politicians and churches, authorities say. On Saturday night, Prime Minister Jimmy Guribao and his deputy flew to the central island of Malaita, where the violence first broke out, reportedly to try to bring calm. He appealed to the public to maintain peace and told the nation in a televised address, “We must call a halt to this senseless and immature violence that has eaten our country.” Deputy Prime Minister John Wawanangas has declared a state of emergency on Solomon Islands, allowing police officers to be deployed anywhere in the country. Archbishop of Honiara George Tjarema called for an open-ended curfew to prevent further disturbances, saying in a statement, “We do not want to see any loss of life. We do not want to see anyone injured. We do not want to see the destruction of our houses and our property.”

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