Prominent Malaitan and party leader taken in for questioning
By JENNIFER KUSAPA
POLICE last night confirmed that prominent Honiara resident, businessman and political party leader John Kwaita has been arrested in relation to the recent rioting in Honiara.
“…yes we can confirm that a prominent Solomon Islander has been arrested this evening in relation to the recent rioting,” a spokesman for police media told Island Sun.
Kwaita, originally from Lau-Mbaelelea in north Malaita, is the President of the United Party. He is also a leader in his Gateway Church, located in the Henderson area.
Island Sun understands members of the armed Police Response Team (PRT) arrested Kwaita, put into one of the caged police vehicles and took him to the Central Police Station, where he was kept overnight.
He is expected to be questioned today.
Parliamentary Wing leader of the United Party, Peter Kenilorea Junior also confirmed his president’s arrest last night.
“I think the arrest is an abuse of power,” Kenilorea said.
“Why not just ask him to go in for questioning tomorrow?” he said.
Kwaita becomes the first high profile Malaitan to have been arrested in relation to the recent rioting that left Chinatown and parts of Honiara in ruins.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has accused the Malaita Provincial Government and members of the Opposition Group in Parliament of planning and backing the protest that led to the riot.
He vowed police will hunt down those who are behind the riot.
Members of the Opposition have denied the accusation.
Police have so far arrested more than 200 youths, accusing them of taking part in the rioting and looting.
Kwaita’s arrest came a day after Opposition leader Mathew Wale called for police to investigate PM Sogavare’s alleged involvement in the abduction and planned executive of Northwest Guadalcanal MP Bodo Dettke and former West Kwaio MP late John Garo in 2000 at the height of the ethnic tension.
Sogavare has rejected the accusation in parliament last week during a no-confidence vote tabled against him.