An advance party of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel left today on a C-130 Hercules from Ohakea bound for the Solomon Islands to assist with maintaining stability and security after more than a week of violent rioting in Honiara.
The Government yesterday announced NZDF and New Zealand Police personnel would be deployed following a formal request from the Solomon Islands Government for assistance after unrest in the country.
Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour said the NZDF and NZ Police personnel would work alongside Solomon Islands partners and authorities to maintain stability, engage with communities and provide a reassuring presence for people in the Solomon Islands going about their daily lives.
“Our NZDF personnel are trained to respond to a range of contingencies. Our contribution is part of a multinational, inter-agency response. We will be working in support of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and NZ Police personnel to maintain stability and security in Solomon Islands.”
“This will involve working closely with Solomon Islands authorities and with our military partners who have also deployed personnel to the Solomon Islands,’’ Rear Admiral Gilmour said.
An advance party deployed to Solomon Islands today on a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) C-130 Hercules, with two vehicles and equipment on board.
A further group of NZDF personnel and New Zealand Police personnel will deploy on Saturday on a RNZAF Boeing B757.
More vehicles and equipment will be transported on a C-130 Hercules. There may be further flights to take equipment and supplies to Honiara if required.
The NZDF contingent includes members of the Wellington-based Deployable Joint Interagency Task Force and Linton-based NZ Army personnel.
The contingent includes command elements, an infantry platoon group, a female engagement team who will assist with community outreach, logistics support, a medical team to support deployed personnel, and an engineer advisor.
The deployment is expected to be for up to 30 days.
All NZDF’s deploying personnel are double vaccinated, will provide negative COVID-19 tests prior to departure and follow COVID-19 prevention protocols. They will complete managed isolation on their return.