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Solomon Islands - NZDF Assistance

20 April 2006

Solomon Islands - New Zealand Defence Force assistance

Two RNZAF aircraft will depart Whenuapai midmorning today, bound for Honiara.

An RNZAF Boeing 757 will carry 30 New Zealand Police and travel via Christchurch, where it will uplift 25 infantry soldiers from Burnham Military Camp.

An RNZAF Hercules C130 will travel via Fiji to assist in transporting additional Fijian Police personnel to Honiara.

It is expected the first aircraft will land shortly after 5pm (New Zealand time) and remain on the ground for a short time only. The two aircraft will return to New Zealand as soon as possible, bringing with them any New Zealanders who wish to relocate to New Zealand.

The soldiers will augment the New Zealand Army platoon already based in Honiara, providing security assistance in support of the Police led Regional Assistance Mission. All New Zealand Defence Force personnel serving in and deploying to Honiara are armed and have rules of engagement that will allow a graduated use of force if required. The soldiers will remain in Honiara until the situation calms.

There are 47 New Zealand Defence Force personnel currently serving with the Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands (RAMSI). The police component of RAMSI retains overall control of security with the military component providing the support role. This combined contribution maintains the RAMSI mandate which is to promote peace and stability within the Solomon Islands.

ENDS

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