Fatal Solomons blast highlights threat in a country littered with bombs

A deadly explosion in the Solomon Islands capital has caused fear and confusion about the ongoing threat posed by hidden munitions left over from World War II.

A central Honiara residential area was rocked on Sunday by the detonation of a buried Howitzer shell which left one person dead and three others injured, two seriously.

The 101mm cannon round exploded in the Lengakiki area where the four youth members of the Kukum Seventh Day Adventist Church had been holding a fund-raising barbecue.

An elder from the church, Lloyd Tahani, said the open fire they were cooking on was directly above the shell.

"Maybe, because they had been cooking a long time, it triggered the bomb to explode," mused Tahani.

He said the young man who was killed, who he identified as Raziv Hilly, "was hit directly" as he was cooking beneath a mango tree while the other three injured people were standing nearby.

The incident has left the people in Honiara shocked and scared, said Tahani.

"It brought fear to the residents in Honiara because, you know, Honiara is where the battle between Japan and the USA finishes," he said referring to the 1942-43 Guadalcanal campaign.

"You just don't have a comfortable environment when such things happen. People just feel that we don't know whether a bomb is still sitting under your house or somewhere where you're staying."

Raziv Hilly was a leader in the Kukum SDA Church's youth ministry, according to Tahani, who will be sadly missed.

And he was one of the country's future leaders according to a member of the Solomons' parliament.

Peter Kenilorea Jr, who knew Hilly and his family, said he was a much respected youth leader.

"He was a very promising leader here in the Solomon Islands. He had a lot of respect," said Kenilorea.

"He was one that had a lot of potential for us in the Solomons so it's just sad to see him go this way. So the family is grieving at the moment and we send our love and our condolences."

Hilly was also one of the country's top aviation engineers whose loss is being mourned by his colleagues at the Ministry of Aviation and Communication, according to the Solomon Star.

The other three injured members of the church remain in hospital with one having received surgery on Monday for her serious injuries.