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Homes belong to family from Malaita

By Ednal Palmer

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Nov. 6, 2008) – Solomon Islands police say the burning down of two homes at Ruaniua, west Guadalcanal , at the weekend was not ethnically motivated.

Rather, they said, it was a retaliatory act. This followed reports a man sexually assaulted a girl in the village.

The two homes that were torched belong to families from Langalanga in Malaita, who have settled in the community there for many years.

Guadalcanal Provincial Police commander George Guna said a member of the Malaitan families was accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl there.

He said a row broke out over the alleged incident, resulting in the torching of the two homes. Mr Guna said the two homes burnt out completely on Saturday evening.

He added the Malaitan families were members of the community so chiefs there are now resolving the row.

Mr Guna said police are investing both the alleged sexual assault case and the burning down of the homes.

"We’ve arrested three people so far in relation to the burning down of the homes. We are still investigating the sexual assault incident."

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