The bodies of three people were discovered in a burned-out building in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, the first deaths reported after days of rioting.
The charred bodies were found at a store in Honiara Chinatown, police said on Saturday.
Security guard Eddie Soa said the bodies were found at the OK Mart in Honiara Chinatown Friday evening on Friday evening.
“Three of them were in the same room with a cash register and money on the floor,” he said.
Many buildings in the Chinatown District were set on fire, and Soa said the bodies were very badly burned.
“We couldn’t tell if they were Chinese or locals. “
Police said forensic teams had opened an investigation and were still at the scene, but the cause of the deaths was unclear.
The streets of the capital remained relatively quiet on Saturday morning as residents begin to assess the damage caused by the days of rioting.
A curfew was imposed overnight in the agitated capital after a third day of violence that saw the prime minister’s home attacked and parts of the city reduced to smoldering ruins.
Australian peacekeepers, who arrived in the country on Thursday evening, also joined police in the streets to restore order and protect critical infrastructure.
The explosion of violence is in part the result of frustrations with the government of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and chronic unemployment – made worse by the pandemic.
Experts say the crisis has also been fueled by a long-standing animosity between residents of the most populous island of Malaita and the central government based on the island of Guadalcanal.
The archipelago nation of about 700,000 people has endured ethnic and political tensions for decades.
The people of Malaita have long complained that their island is neglected by the central government, and divisions intensified when Sogavare recognized Beijing in 2019.
Three unidentified bodies burned to the point of being unrecognizable were found in the OK Mart, China Town, Honiara.
At the moment, at the scene, the police forensic team was here earlier and left to ask its specialist staff to remove the bodies.
An eyewitness, security guard Edddie Soa, who ran the site, said he joined some officers who discovered the bodies last night.
“Three of them were in the same room with a cash register and money on the floor.
He said the bodies were burned to the point of being unrecognizable.
“We couldn’t tell if they were Chinese or local. “
At the moment at the scene, the police have not yet returned and removed the bodies.
In China Town, most buildings were set on fire, except for a few buildings manned by local security officers.
The situation in Honiara calms down today as Australian Defense Forces and Federal Police peacekeepers arrived yesterday to clear the crowds.
The situation in Honiara returned to normal as of 5 pm yesterday.