Last Kiwi troops return from Solomons
Fri, 30 Nov 2012 6:23p.m.
By Jessica Rowe
The final contingent of New Zealand soldiers has returned from the Solomon Islands, ending nearly a decade of New Zealand Army peacekeeping there.
Around 40 personnel, mainly from Burnham, arrived at Christchurch Airport this afternoon.
They were deployed in the Solomon Islands for just six months, but New Zealand soldiers have had a peacekeeping presence in the small Pacific country for 10 years.
In 2003, after nearly three years of general lawlessness and insecurity, New Zealand troops headed over with Australian and Pacific Island nations to help local police restore law and order.
But tensions rose again after the general election in 2006. People took to protesting in the streets – smashing shop windows and setting fire to Chinatown amidst allegations of corruption.
Six years on and the Solomon Islands are finally a peaceful place. Confidence in the local police force has been restored, and the country even hosted Prince William and wife Kate this year without incident.
The remaining international military presence in the nation is expected to wind down next year with platoons from Australia and Papua New Guinea remaining for now.
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2/12/2012 2:12:32 a.m.
Ian Goldsmith wrote:
New Zealand needs to wake up to what is happening in the South Pacific, especially now that we are mindful in New Zealand that China has just taken over East Timor, with New Zealand leaving recently there - as reported by TV3 recently. We are also seeing very serious illegal logging occurring in the Solomon Islands and that issue needs to be addressed also. When a country's resources are being plundered and the forests are being decimated and we say that 'all is well', we are not looking closely enough. An important Reuters article highlights a very serious problem. Please do refer to the following:
30/11/2012 9:08:56 p.m.
Welcome home, a job well done!
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