Tue Apr 18, 10:28 PM ET
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia will deploy more than 100 troops to help restore order in the Solomon Islands, which have been hit by rioting over a disputed election result, Prime Minister John Howard said.
Howard said 110 soldiers would leave on four air force transport planes and arrive in the Solomons Wednesday night and would be followed by 70 police officers.
"Starting at about 2.30pm this afternoon from Townsville (on the northeast coast), 110 soldiers of a unit that has been in readiness for just this eventuality will go to the Solomon Islands," Howard told reporters.
"They will be joined by some 70 additional Australian Federal Police officers and that will represent an immediate and needed injection of additional security forces to the Solomon Islands."
Howard said the commitment followed a written request from the Solomon Islands government.
At least 17 Australian police and two New Zealanders were injured as they tried to quell the rioting after the announcement Tuesday that former deputy leader Snyder Rini had been elected prime minister.