Solomon Islands unrest: three bodies found in burnt-out building

The bodies of three people have been discovered in a burnt-out building in the Solomon Islands capital of Honiara, the first reported deaths after days of rioting.

The charred bodies were discovered in a store in the Chinatown district of Honiara, police said on Saturday.

A security guard, Eddie Soa, said the bodies had been found on Friday night in the OK Mart in Honiara’s Chinatown on Friday night.

“Three of them were in the same room with a cash box and money on the floor,” he said.

Many buildings in the Chinatown district have been torched and Soa said the bodies were very badly burnt.

“We couldn’t tell if they are Chinese people or locals.”

Police said forensic teams had launched an investigation and were still on the scene but that the cause of the deaths was unclear.

The streets of the capital remained relatively quiet on Saturday morning as locals begin to assess the damage left by days of rioting.

A curfew had been imposed on the restive capital overnight after a third day of violence that saw the prime minister’s home come under attack and swathes of the city reduced to smouldering ruins.

Australian peacekeepers, who arrived in the country late on Thursday, also joined police on the streets to restore order and protect critical infrastructure.

The explosion of violence is partly a result of frustrations with prime minister Manasseh Sogavare’s government and chronic unemployment – made worse by the pandemic.

Experts say the crisis has also been fuelled by long-standing animosity between residents of the most populous island Malaita and the central government based on the island of Guadalcanal.

The archipelago nation of around 700,000 people has for decades endured ethnic and political tensions.

Malaita residents have long complained that their island is neglected by the central government, and divisions intensified when Sogavare recognised Beijing in 2019.

Three unidentified bodies burnt beyond recognition were found in the OK Mart, China Town, Honiara.

Police confirmed.

Right now at the scene Police forensic team was here earlier and left to get their specialized people to remove the corpses.

An Eye witness a security officer Edddie Soa manning the site said he joined few officers went up who discovered the bodies last night.

“Three of them were in the same room with a cash box and money on the floor.

He said the bodies were burnt beyond recognition.

“We couldn’t tell if they are Chinese or locals.”

Right now at the scene , Police is yet to return and removed the bodies.

In China Town most of the buildings were torched except for few buildings manned by local security officers.

The situation in Honiara today calms down as the Australian Defence force and Federal Police peace keepers arrived yesterday to cleared of the mob.

The situation in Honiara comes back normal as of 5pm yesterday.

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