US pays tribute to bomb victims

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BY ALFRED PAGEPITU

THE U.S. Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu Erin Elizabeth McKee has expressed her condolences following the bomb incident over the weekend that has already claimed a life.

On Sunday, three people were seriously injured after a bomb exploded as they were cooking out in the open in the residential areas of Lengakiki. One of those injured passed away a short time later.

Friends, relatives and other Solomon Islanders criticised Japan and US for the incident, adding that thousands of tonnes of unexploded World War Two bombs are just under the surface waiting to explode across the Pacific Islands.

Ambassador McKee on Monday issued a media statement stating “We were deeply saddened to hear of the tragic incident in Honiara this past weekend and mourn the loss of a life.

She said the United States government, through their Department of Defense, will continue to support efforts to remove unexploded ordnance from Solomon Islands.

“Among these efforts is our ongoing partnership with Norwegian People’s Aid, which has worked in Solomon Islands since 2019 to identify and dispose of unexploded ordnance.”

It is believed the blast came from an unexploded World War II ordnance (UXO).

The UXO is believed to have been buried not so deep beneath the fireplace where the victims were cooking on.

The incident occurred around 2.45pm yesterday – a group of youths from the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Kukum Church group, Topaz, were cooking for their outreach Ministry work at the residence.

Meanwhile, the government through the Ministry of Aviation and Communication (MCA) is mourning the loss of one of their local qualified aviation engineers who was killed in the bomb blast.

Raziv Hilly, from Vella La Vella and Rannoggah in the Western Province, was one of the four that got injured from the impact of the blast.

The Executive Management and Staff of Ministry of Communication and Aviation (MCA) expressed their sympathies to the families during this difficult time.

Late Raziv Hilly was a highly valuable and respected member, staff and the effects of his passing are already being felt by his fellow colleagues and management.

Raziv was a wonderful employee who understood the meaning of the word “TEAM” He was always more focused on the good of MCA and all MCA Airport Projects than on his own benefit.

 He made many great contributions to the Ministry and helped it move forward in numerous ways. His work here will not be forgotten.

“Please accept our sincere condolences for you, your families and relatives. Raziv was a remarkable man and everyone at MCA especially the Airport Management (APM) is better for having known him.

“For all of us who have had the privilege of calling him “friend” inside and outside of work, we were humbled by his kindness and compassion to everyone around him.

He will be greatly missed and everyone here is saddened by his death. Know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and families, relatives and friends during this difficult time.

“May the comfort of God help us all during this difficult time and may his soul rest in peace with our Heavenly Father till the resurrection morning.


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