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Solomon Is. Bank Manager Hacked In Office

By Duran Angiki

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (May 10): The spate of ethnic violence in Solomon Islands today escalated to a new level when a bank manager was hacked with a bush knife in his office this morning by intruders wearing hoods, reports Wantok Press.

The man, whose identity has been withheld by the police, is believed to be from Guadalcanal, which had virtually been at war with neighbouring Malaita province.

He was just settling down shortly after arriving in his Chinatown office, a branch office of the Development Bank of Solomon Islands when a group of men walked in and asked the receptionist, the only other staff at the office at the time, that they wanted to see the manager.

They walked passed her, donned their hoods, walked into the office of the manager dragged him out and attacked him with a bush knife. He received deep gushes on his head and arm.

Before the alarm could attract passers by in the early morning of an usually busy Chinatown shopping centre, the attackers had escaped in a waiting car. The man is in a critical condition at the Solomon Islands national referral hospital in Honiara.

Eyewitnesses, workers in nearby offices and building, described the incident, which occurred at about 8am, as "frightening and horrifying". One man said he saw the five men dragged the victim out of the building and attacked him at the entrance before escaping.

Just outside the Solomon Islands capital Honiara in the last few days, the warring factions, the Isatabu Freedom Movement of Guadalcanal and the Malaita Eagle Force had each killed a member of the other group in revenge, and on each of the killing, the victim’s head had been removed, giving a

traditional signal and warning of continued violence.

Since last Thursday (May 4), Guadalcanal militants and the Malaita Eagle

Force (MEF) had been engaged in sporadic shootouts, few kilometers east of the country’s international airport at Henderson, resulting in two dead one from each side but a third victim was from another province who was said to have been caught in a cross fire between the warring groups.

Police said renewed fighting have been sparked by the discovery last Saturday of the headless dead-body of a man from Guadalcanal, allegedly killed by MEF members and dumped in downtown Honiara.

The killing triggered Guadalcanal militants who immediately engaged in setting up of roadblocks, 12-kilometers, northeast of Honiara and the killing of a man allegedly of the MEF on Tuesday.

The barricade practically cut off public and police access to the interior of East Guadalcanal where the Australian Ross Mining company is operating the Gold Ridge Gold Mine, two Police posts at Ngalibiu and Tetere, the Solomon Islands Dodo Creek Agricultural Research Center and the Catholic

National Secondary School, St Joseph at Tenaru which had been forced to take its midyear break early because of the violence.

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