Solomons handed water cannons, police gun shipments from China, Australia

Solomons handed water cannons, police gun shipments from China, Australia

At a ceremony in the capital Honiara Friday led by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, China handed over two water cannon trucks, 30 motorbikes and 20 SUVs to the Solomons' police force
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, China donated over two water cannon trucks, 30 motorbikes and 20 SUVs to the Solomons' police force. Photo: Gina MAKA / AFP
Source: AFP

PAY ATTENTION: Сheck out news that is picked exactly for YOU ➡️ find “Recommended for you” block on the home page and enjoy!

Solomon Islands beefed up its police force's hardware with a donation on Friday of water cannons from China, days after it received guns from Australia.

The Solomons -- a sprawling archipelago in the South Pacific -- has become a hotspot in a diplomatic tussle which sees the United States and Australia seeking to limit China's influence.

Australia and China's donations to the nation's security forces this week comes a year after protests against the government turned violent in November, leaving at least three people dead.

At a ceremony in the capital Honiara Friday led by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, China handed over two water cannon trucks, 30 motorbikes and 20 SUVs to the Solomons' police force.

Sogavare said the hardware donated will help police keep the peace on the Solomons as it prepares to host the Pacific Games next year before holding general elections in 2024.

Read also

Germany's Scholz arrives in China to boost economic ties

"We must serve our people without fear or favour. The security of our country depends on you," Sogavare told police officers.

PAY ATTENTION: Click “See First” under the “Following” tab to see YEN.com.gh News on your News Feed!

Chinese ambassador Li Ming said his country's donation of vehicles came at the request of Sogovare's government, and will "further contribute to the law and order management of Solomon Islands".

Australian Federal Police had also given 60 short-barrelled rifles and 13 vehicles to the Solomons' police force on Wednesday -- a donation that came after Canberra hosted Sogavare last month in a bid to smooth diplomatic tensions strained by China's growing footprint.

This sparked criticism from opposition leader Matthew Wale, who found the donation of Australia's weapons "deeply disturbing".

"Obviously we do not have external threats so why the introduction of these high-powered guns?... Or are we on the pathway of being militarised again?" Wale told AFP.

Read also

Cautious hope for Ethiopia deal to silence the guns

"If it is... then we are arming ourselves against our own citizens."

The vehicles donated by China cost around $1.7 million while the weapons and transport supplied by Australia cost just under one million dollars.

The 2019 riots in Honiara caused $67 million worth of damage and left the city's Chinatown district in ruins before a snap deployment of peacekeepers from Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea helped restore order.

The Chinese community was targeted partly due to the government's decision to switch diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China in 2019, a move that angered some communities in the aid-dependent nation.

New feature: Сheck out news that is picked for YOU ➡️ find “Recommended for you” block on the home page and enjoy!

Source: AFP

Authors:
AFP avatar

AFP AFP text, photo, graphic, audio or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. AFP news material may not be stored in whole or in part in a computer or otherwise except for personal and non-commercial use. AFP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions in any AFP news material or in transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages whatsoever. As a newswire service, AFP does not obtain releases from subjects, individuals, groups or entities contained in its photographs, videos, graphics or quoted in its texts. Further, no clearance is obtained from the owners of any trademarks or copyrighted materials whose marks and materials are included in AFP material. Therefore you will be solely responsible for obtaining any and all necessary releases from whatever individuals and/or entities necessary for any uses of AFP material.

Online view pixel