Solomon Islands Prime Minister’s property targeted by rioters, a building damaged by fire and looting

A building belonging to the Solomon Islands Prime Minister has been set on fire by protesters, where looters break in and cause damage.

Pictures from social media show the fire-damaged building in Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s area with objects scattered everywhere.

The building that has been set on fire is another home that has previously been rented out and is not the Prime Minister’s main residence, which has been declared safe but is under strict police surveillance.

Honiara-based freelance journalist Chrisnrita Aumanu-Leong said that although the city was visibly quieter on Friday, crowds had turned their attention to Mr Sogavare’s residence.

Garbage is scattered on the sidewalk outside a gate near Manessah Sogavare's property.
Insurgents say they “just wanted to do something about” the prime minister’s property.(ABC News: Chrisnrita Aumanu-Leong)

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The Solomon Islands government will enforce a curfew between 19:00 and 06:00 in the capital until it is repealed.

Solomon Islands Police Commissioner Mostyn Mangau advised people to return to their homes if they did not have emergency services in the city center.

“Anyone seen moving around after 7pm will be treated.”

Papua New Guinea has deployed 20 police officers and 15 detectives to the troubled nation at the request of the Solomon Islands government.

They were expected to arrive Friday afternoon, according to PNG Prime Minister James Marape’s office.

Two buildings in the background with a tree and several potted plants in the foreground of a fenced property.
Solomon Islands Prime Minister main connection.(ABC News: Chrisnrita Aumanu-Leong)

PNG Police Commissioner David Manning will also accompany security personnel to assess the situation on the spot and hold a press conference on Friday night.

On Thursday, a contingent of 23 Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers arrived in Honiara to strengthen Solomon’s police force, and more will follow in the coming days.

According to the Australian High Commissioner for Solomon Islands Lachlan Strahan, an air force aircraft with personnel from the Australian Defense Forces has arrived in the Solomon Islands.

It is the third day of protests in the capital Honiara, where people continue to call for Mr Sogavare’s resignation.

Protests in the country broke out earlier in the week – the most important, but not the only, source of conflict is the government’s decision to shift diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China.

The Solomon Islands Ministry of Public Service has advised all public servants – with the exception of essential services – to stay at home due to the current unrest in the capital.

It also urged public servants to make sure they had enough food in the home due to the uncertainty of the current situation.

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