Fears of violence resurgence as RAMSI leaves Solomons

A group representing women's rights in the Solomon Islands says thousands displaced by fighting years ago fear there could be a resurgence in violence when foreign security forces leave the country.

The peace mission known as RAMSI officially ended on Thursday, 14 years after soldiers and police first arrived.

In capital Honiara, there was a salute of respect for those who had fallen; police officers who paid the ultimate price as part of the RAMSI intervention.

It was a unique security mission from the beginning - a combined effort involving 15 Pacific nations.

While regional leaders feel the time is right to leave, there remains unease among many about what lies ahead, including Alice Anthonia, who represents women marginalised by the conflict.

"Many women I talk with them early today. Almost all of them feel unsure about what will happen if RAMSI leaves," she told Newshub.

"They are really, really worried and uneasy... On a women's perspective, we are worried because of our past experience, it is too much for us to bear."

Resident Bett Solobola said she's worried about the future and her children.

"Coming up, we don't know what's going to happen," she said.

It was a bloody battle over land and resources which divided the nation in the first place, but even now disputes continue to simmer.

The concern is that the root of the conflict has not yet been resolved.

Thousands of people have come to the capital from impoverished, war-torn areas to sell goods, make money and get their children education. But that's put huge pressure on land in Honiara itself.

On the outskirts of town, dozens of illegal squatter settlements have been established - people living in makeshift homes on private land which has been sold to foreigners.

Those staying here lead simple lives without power or running water, but they want the right to keep it this way and remain on property they believe belongs to them.

Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett, while in the Solomon Islands, told Newshub New Zealand is not simply walking away from the Solomon Islands and if violence resurfaced, it's possible we'd return - if help was requested.

She says talks about this are underway at the moment and a handful of Kiwi police officers will remain in the nation to assist.

This has been a long and expensive mission - the Australians have spent $2.6 billion and New Zealand has invested about $150 million in the RAMSI mission.

But Ms Bennett says in her view, it was money well spent.