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Solomons Police Cede Illegal Arms

Police in the Solomon Islands have surrendered some of their illegal weapons to the Australian-led intervention force sent to restore order in the South Pacific nation. A spokeswoman for the intervention force said: “There have been 38 weapons handed in, which include four light machine guns, some SR88 (assault rifles), pistols and shotguns.” The foreign peacekeepers – who arrived in the Solomons on 24 July – had given local police in the capital, Honiara, a deadline of Monday evening to hand in any weapons illegally kept in their homes. The nation is thought to be awash with unlicensed arms, and illegal weapons are the early focus of the intervention, according to BBC correspondent Phil Mercer. Widespread police and government corruption, coupled with the large number of armed militia groups, have led to a serious breakdown of law and order. The Malaitan Eagle Force (MEF) – a rebel group which seized Honiara after the 2000 coup, and was almost completely in control of the city for a time – has already offered to give up its arms and begin talks with the intervention force. Full Story

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