28 Jun 2002

Solomons police unable to confirm repors of killings on Guadalcanal's weather coast

4:25 pm on 28 June 2002

Solomon Islands police say they cannot confirm a statement by police minister, Benjamin Una, that 11 people were killed in a failed attempt to capture the leader of the Guadalcanal Liberation Front, Harold Keke.

A spokesperson for the police, who have been investigating the incident on the Guadalcanal weathercoast earlier this month, says they have nothing to add to their statement that 11 men are missing.

Solomon Islands radio quotes a spokesman for Keke as saying ten armed men who arrived from Honiara were interrogated by Keke and later killed.

The spokesman, Onesmus Tovoa, says an eleventh person was from Keke's camp and was shot dead by the group as they approached the Front stronghold.

The police minister says the alleged plot to capture Harold Keke had nothing to do with the government.

The minister says the men wanted to get Keke and then ask the government to pay them money.

The Guadalcanal Liberation Front has not signed the Townsville Peace Agreement which ended the ethnic conflict on the island in 2000.