POLICE have confirmed that the incident on Mbike Island in the early hours of Tuesday morning was the first shooting incident involving guns they have received since 2004.
The Police Media Unit confirmed that between 2004 and 2014, there were suspected reports of shootings that were not confirmed.
“This is the first incident involving guns that we have received and are investigating in a while now,” a spokesman said.
“On several occasions we have received suspected reports, however nothing solid that we can follow up on or the incidents were never reported,” a spokesperson from the Police Media told this paper yesterday.
The Solomon Star understands that since the RAMSI intervention in 2003, a mass reconciliation was held and all guns from warring parties and ex-militants were returned and destroyed.
However, after that, the only incident involving guns since then was the shooting of Australian Protective Services (APS) Officer, Adam Dunning, who was tragically shot and killed on 22 December 2004.
Asked if the latest incident involving guns should be of uttermost concern for National Security, Police Commissioner, Frank Prendergast said that he is confident that the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) have the capabilities to address incidents of this nature.
“I am indeed confident that the RSIPF with the support of the PPF can manage this issue.
“All we want is for the public to have confidence in us, as we will do everything we can to address this and bring those responsible to face justice,” Mr Prendergast said.
This incident again raises the issue of rearming the RSIPF, with many citizens agreeing that it is time that the Police Force be rearmed.
“If there are guns out there, than how on earth can the Police protect us the citizens?
“Maybe it is time that the Manasseh Sogavare led government look into rearming our Police Force, as it is the only means of deterring criminals who have the intention of using guns,” was the general feedback received from the public when asked on the matter.
By JEREMY INIFIRI