These reports on the progress of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands were first published in the Solomon Star - the national daily newspaper of the Solomon Islands.
Because of the author's position as official photographer to the Australian Federal Police, they naturally have an AFP focus.
it's time to "find" weapons
Brian Hartigan in Honiara
last week, Special Coordinator Nick Warner with Commander Participating
Police Force and Acting Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police
Ben McDevitt took possession of 99 mostly military-style weapons at the
Malaita town of Auki.
talks with Acting Commissioner McDevitt and Mr Warner, one of the leaders
of the Malaita Eagle Force (MEF) Jimmy Rasta surrendered his weapons at
the ceremony in Auki to coincide with Malita Day, the province's official
annual day of celebrations.
of MEF weapons and the surrender of weapons and subsequent arrest of Harold
Keke, removed many of the barriers and excuses of people who were thus
far reluctant to give up their arms.
As the gun
amnesty came to an end last night at midnight, almost 3000 weapons have
been permanently removed from society.
with this result, RAMSI leaders believe that there are still guns in the
the main focus of effort for the police and soldiers of RAMSI will shift
from collecting weapons to finding weapons and to arresting those people
who went against the will of the vast majority of their fellow citizens
by hiding guns.
made it clear throughout the amnesty period that RAMSI had both the capability
and the resolve to find guns wherever they are.
onwards, there are no more excuses for anyone to hold on to guns.
last week, the Participating Police Force was bolstered by the arrival
of two new groups from Australia and New Zealand. Among these was a team
of Forensic Science Police from Australia.
are expert in fingerprint examination, crime scene investigations, ballistic
examinations and photography.
highly skilled officers who will assist in providing the scientific evidence
required to prove cases to the satisfaction of Solomon Island's courts.
have Scenes of Crime officers and the PPF forensic specialists will work
closely with them to provide investigators with the professional scientific
backup they need to successfully conclude complex cases.
has a full compliment of eight transport aircraft based at Henderson International
Airport, including two Caribou airplanes and six Iroquois helicopters.
kept very busy throughout the past week supporting RAMSI on regional amnesty
visits and weapon-surrender ceremonies and in taking supplies to the growing
network of police posts outside Honiara.
McDevitt opened the fifth such police post on Wednesday this week in Gizo.
the assessed security situation in the popular tourist town, two PPF officers
were deployed to Gizo to work in the existing RSIP police station without
the support of a military security group as in the previous four posts.
full month, RAMSI has achieved a great deal, but is not about to rest
on its laurels.
gun amnesty now finished, many weeks of difficult work lie ahead as the
police and soldiers spread out to find and take guns away from people
intent on keeping their guns.
Please, if you know where these guns are, help RAMSI to help you make the Solomon Islands a gun-free country.