UPDATE - Australian Defence Force, Navy Ship Head To Solomon Islands Amid Ongoing Unrest - Reports

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 26th November, 2021) About 40 Australian Defence Force personnel and a navy ship will join Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers in the Solomon Islands later on Friday in a peace-keeping role as local authorities struggle to control unrest in capital Honiara, media reported.

The island nation's Governor General on Friday imposed a curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily in the capital city as violent protest and sporadic looting enter their third day. Solomon police forces have begun using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters.

Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands Manasseh Sogavare has sent a formal request for help to Canberra based on a bilateral security treaty signed in 2017, Solomon Times reported.

Australia has agreed to send troops and federal police to the Solomon Islands amid unrest on Thursday. Prime Minister Morrison said 23 AFP members would be deployed immediately, another 50 AFP officers would support critical infrastructure on the following day, as well as 43 armed defense force personnel.

Sogavare, speaking to Australian broadcaster ABC, blamed the protests on foreign interference, as the unrest stems from the government's moves to recognize China and sever ties with Taiwan, something that the populous province of Malaita has opposed.

"That decision is a correct decision, it is legal, it puts Solomon Islands on the right side of history and it is in line with international law," Sogavare was quoted by the broadcaster as saying about the government's move to recognize Beijing as the legitimate Chinese power instead of Taiwan.

The broadcaster shared footage showing protesters attacking the Prime Minister's residence, although local sources said the building was only rented by Sogavare in the past.

Sogavare declared a 36-hour lockdown on Wednesday after protests turned violent, with a leaf hut on the premises of the country's parliament building and a traffic police station in Honiara set on fire.