Fiji sends troops to the Solomon Islands as fears of starvation grow

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Fiji joined an international peacekeeping force in the Solomon Islands on Monday (November 29), where the Red Cross has warned of food shortages in the devastated capital. Following anti-government riots, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama ordered 50 Fijian troops to maintain law and order, boosting the total number of peacekeepers to almost 200, primarily Australian with at least 34 from Papua New Guinea.
He said another 120 troops were ready to deploy if the security situation in Honiara worsened, where a vast clean-up operation was ongoing after the unrest that claimed at least three lives.
“I also want to use this opportunity to express my condolences and prayers to our Solomon Islands brothers and sisters who are now undergoing upheaval,” the Fijian leader stated. Protests over government policies in the 800,000-strong Solomon Islands became violent last Wednesday, fueled by poverty, unemployment, and inter-island rivalry.
Mobs went rampant for three days after attempting to attack Parliament, turning most of Chinatown to smoldering wreckage and attempting to destroy Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s residence.
After Mr. Sogavare’s frantic call for assistance to Canberra, Australian troops and police arrived in Honiara, restoring calm. According to Solomon Islands Red Cross Secretary General Clement Manuri, Honiara remained peaceful but tense on Monday as citizens worked to clean up the streets. He added that food was growing short in the city, and relief groups were considering whether emergency supplies were required.

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