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Shots fired as troops quell rock-throwing mob

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Aug. 12, 2010) – A man has died after an early morning riot in the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara.

Police are investigating following the discovery of the body after RAMSI security forces fired shots to disperse the crowd.

[PIR editor’s note: Radio New Zealand International reports that the Australian-led peacekeeping force, Regional Assistance Mission Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has accepted responsibility for the shooting death of the victim, an as-yet unidentified man. RAMSI Special Coordinator Graeme Wilson expressed his deepest regret, extending the Mission’s condolences to the family of the deceased. He said this is the first time in the Mission’s seven-year stay in the Solomons that the actions of RAMSI personnel operating in the line of duty had resulted in the death of a Solomon Islander. Wilson said RAMSI is assisting the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force with their investigation into the incident as well as conducting its own internal investigation.]

After a fight broke out between two groups of locals in Honiara, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, officers from RAMSI's Participating Police Force, and members of its military contingent were called in to bring it under control.

After the fighting escalated into rock-throwing, warning shots were fired by members of RAMSI's security forces, and after the crowd dispersed, a Guadalcanal man was found dead on the site.

At this stage it is not known if the death was caused by the shots, or from injuries sustained during the earlier fight.

Another man was wounded during the riot, and is being treated in hospital for stab wounds.

The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force is investigating with the assistance of the RAMSI Participating Police Force.

The situation in Honiara is being described as calm.

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