NEW ZEALAND LOOKS AT LAW AND ORDER SITUATION IN SOLOMONS

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (February 14, 2002 - Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation/PINA Nius Online)---A New Zealand team has arrived in Honiara to explore possible options for helping resolve the country's deteriorating law and justice situation.

New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, Heather Riddle, said restoration of law and order is a priority for the Solomons.

During their two-week visit the team will investigate the problems and what needs to be done to address them, including possible support from New Zealand.

The team also will work closely with other aid donors, including the Australian High Commission and AusAID advisors already assisting Solomon Islands police.

It comes amidst continuing Solomon Islands law and order problems, despite a peace agreement ending a deadly two-year ethnic conflict.

Hundreds of high-powered weapons are still unaccounted for. They include some taken when elements of the paramilitary police field force joined the June 2000 coup against the elected government.

In other law-and-order developments:

* The local family of the expatriate construction consultant stabbed to death in Honiara on Monday called on the Government to step up enforcement of law and order.

The Tanabose family of New Zealander Kevin O'Brian said killing of innocent persons is forbidden both under God's and Solomon Islands laws.

* The police force's Guadalcanal Rapid Response Unit said it has retrieved 45 percent of the cyanide and two cartons of explosives stolen two weeks ago.

Unit leader Joseph Sangu said his men retrieved the dangerous chemical and explosives through their own intelligence information network.

He said the unit is worried about the indiscriminate use of the chemical and explosives against the public by groups who may have wrong motives.

Mr. Sangu said the unit needs logistic support, such as vehicles or canoes, to be able to maneuver to recover the weapons that are still at large.

Members of the unit have been spending their own money hiring transport in their efforts to maintain law and order, he said.

For additional reports from the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.

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

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