30 May 2002

Solomons minister says he has spoken to killer

4:45 pm on 30 May 2002

The Solomon Islands police minister, Benjamin Una, says he has sent an officer to Malaita to arrest his nephew who allegedly killed New Zealander Kevin O'Brien earlier this year.

Mr O'Brien was stabbed on a construction site in Honiara nearly three months ago.

Mr Una claimed earlier this month that John Buarafi had already been arrested in connection with the murder.

That claim was later shown to be false.

The Minister now says Buarafi is living in Auki and that he has sent a senior officer there later this week to bring him to Honiara.

Benjamin Una has said that his nephew has admitted to the killing and told him he is very sorry for what happened.

"He was sorry for what he has done, that is what he told me, he didn't mean to kill O'Brien, but just a strange force forced his hand to go through his stomach with the knife,...that is very, very terrible."

Benjamin Una.

He says Buarafi's family had not been willing to surrender his nephew because they had fears for his safety while in police custody.