ANGRY CROWD STOPS SOLOMONS PM SOGAVARE FROM LEAVING OFFICE

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (November 8, 2001 – PAOA-FM/PINA Nius Online)---Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was being prevented today from leaving his office -- and the country -- by an angry crowd.

A house belonging to the Sogavare government's National Unity Reconciliation and Peace Party was also stoned and its fence flattened.

Protesters were understood to be mainly people who said they lost property or suffered property damage during the two years of ethnic conflict on Guadalcanal.

The protests followed news circulating that the former Malaita Eagle Force militia received Sol$ 17.4 million [US$ 3,225,960] in claims for lost and damaged property.

While this figure is still not confirmed frustrated victims now want Prime Minister Sogavare to give them a written explanation as to how payments were made.

Angry people surrounded the Prime Minister's Office, with Mr Sogavare inside.

They said that he will not leave the country today on board an Air Niugini flight for a trip to America.

They called on him to solve problems in the country first before making any overseas trips.

The people threatened to sleep in front of the office until they can get a satisfactory explanation from the PM.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org

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