27 Aug 2002

Solomon says Australian and NZ help needed to get Keke

10:30 am on 27 August 2002

The Solomon Islands police minister, Augustine Taneko, says he needs help from Australia and New Zealand to bring rebel leader Harold Keke to justice.

Harold Keke, who leads the Guadalcanal Liberation Front and controls the island's Weather Coast, claimed to have authorised last week's assassination of Cabinet Minister Fr Augustine Geve.

He has also claimed responsibility for the deaths of ten Malaitan men who disappeared on the Weather Coast three months ago.

The group was understood to have been chasing a bounty on Mr Keke.

Mr Taneko says a police CID team has now been mandated to go to the Weather Coast and investigate the death of Fr Geve, and he says the government is taking steps to bring Harold Keke to justice.

But he says they need logistical support.

"That is why I said New Zealand and Australia where are you? Come and support me, stand beside me, you see as a minister you can talk what, how you talk but I need your support I am waiting when are they going to give me support a partnership should mean to support me."

Solomons Police Minister Augustine Taneko.

New Zealand is sending ten police in October to boost the local force, while Australia has been providing Solomon Islands police advisers for several years.