The volatile situation in Auki was resolved peacefully yesterday by the police, Malaita Provincial government (MPG), M4D and the Auki Chinese Community.

A statement from MPG says they were made aware of an evacuation notice that was issued to Chinese Nationals in Auki yesterday, giving them 24 hours to leave Auki. The notice was issued by M4D and was claimed to be part of their stance against China’s dealings in Malaita Province.

In responding to the situation, the Provincial Police Commander held a dialogue with the MPG and M4D yesterday, looking at how best they could defuse the situation.

The parties agreed to sign an understanding agreement in anticipation of the arrival of the direct flight from China. The following was agreed.

  • Those who have relatives arriving on the flight must inform their relatives that they will have to stay in Honiara for a month before coming to Auki.
  • Chinese people residing in Auki that decided to leave Auki must stay away for a month before they can be allowed back in Malaita.
  • Also, it was agreed that all Chinese nationals in Auki to voluntarily provide their details to the police as well as any future travel arrangements.

The meeting agreed that such measures are important to ensure the health and safety of the population of Malaita from COVID-19.

It is also for the safety of those Chinese nationals living in Auki, imposing such measures would dispel any rumours of them bringing the disease to Malaita.

A statement from Malaita Province says: “to those who think that MPG is behind the issue, it must be made clear to them that the province is actually dealing with a situation that came about as a result of the decision of the national government to allow a direct flight to China.

“National Government must be sensitive in making decisions that would put the lives of Solomon Islanders at risk. Naturally when it comes to the health and safety people take this matter very seriously and thus the government must not continue to ignore the concerns of the people.”

Shops in Auki have re-opened and normal business continues.

Solomon Times News Desk