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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (SIBC, June 19) – Royal Solomon Islands Police officers are taking part in an operation with the United States Army Pacific Command to dispose of dangerous munitions on Mbanika Island.

[PIR editor’s note: Mbanika Island is among the 99 islands of the Russell Group, just off the northwest coast of Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. According to a paper published by the Australian National University Peace Research Center in 2001, allied forces stockpiled "substantial" chemical weapons in the Solomon Islands and in Australia during World War II. ]

The operations started on Saturday and is continuing today.

The Solomon Islands Government requested the assistance of the United States Army to dispose of the munitions that are suspected to contain mustard gas left from World War II.

The munitions are in a remote location at Lever Point, but police are warning members of the public to stay well clear of the area over the three days.

Police Media office says the disposal will be undertaken by explosive experts who will take all precautions to safeguard the environment and ensure there is no danger to the local population.

The Officer in Charge of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit, Senior Sergeant Rex Waiwori said the team would destroy four rounds of the dangerous munitions under controlled circumstances.

June 20, 2006

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corp.: http://www.sibconline.com.sb/

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