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Solomon Islands: Relief operation suspended following attack on Red Cross team

12-10-2000 News Release 00/39

The ICRC has decided to suspend its relief activities in the Solomon Islands following an attack on its staff on the island of Marapa, in the Marau Sounds off the Weathercoast of Guadalcanal, on 6 October, in which one delegate was seriously wounded.

A joint ICRC / Solomon Islands Red Cross team was distributing relief supplies to the displaced population on Marapa Island when it was attacked by partially uniformed armed men. An ICRC delegate was severely beaten and food and other relief items covering the needs of some 50 families were stolen at gunpoint. The delegate had to be evacuated to Australia, where he was treated for head wounds.

The ICRC started distributing relief supplies in the Marau Sounds on 3 October and was to continue its operation in the remaining easternmost part of the Weathercoast. A clinic for the displaced was also to be set up on Marapa and a Solomon Islands nurse brought in together with the necessary medical supplies.

Given the alarming events, Red Cross relief activities in the Solomon Islands will not resume until renewed and credible security guarantees are received from all parties to the conflict.