26 Jun 2002

Solomons police minister says 11 killed in attempt to catch Keke

6:05 pm on 26 June 2002

The Solomon Islands police minister says 11 people HAVE been killled in an apparent mission earlier this month to try to capture the leader of the Guadalcanal Liberation Front, Harold Keke.

Police have said 11 unidentified people from Honiara are missing on Guadalcanal's weather coast but the minister, Benjamin Una, says they died in what he says was a mission to make money.

Mr Una says the trip was unauthorised and had nothing to do with the government and he cannot confirm what organisation the Honiara group came from.

He says that the group seemed to have money as a motive for trip, which has cost them their lives.

"Eleven people were dead and they went over by a speed craft, trying to arrest Harold, and if they arrest Harold, then they will demand the Government to pay them how much money they like."

Benjamin Una says the group should not have gone without consulting the government, and he says MP Y Sato has been assigned as negotiator in the talks.

The Guadalcanal Liberation Front has refused to sign the 2000 Townsville Peace Agreement.

The premier of Guadalcanal, Ezekiel Alebua, has called on the prime minister to appoint a commission of inquiry into the affair.

He says the government must establish the truth and stop futher intrusions with unlawful intent in the area.