13 Feb 2003

Solomons police say they have no suspect in Soaki killing

11:27 am on 13 February 2003

Solomon Islands police say they still have no suspect or possible motive for the killing of a former police commissioner, Sir Frederick Soaki, who was shot dead by a lone gunman in an Auki restaurant on Monday night.

Police say members of the CID in Honiara have been sent to Malaita after a request by Auki police for assistance.

Sir Frederick was part of a National Peace Council team sent to Malaita to help in UNDP-run workshops to demobilise 800 special constables.

The UNDP says it is convinced the assassination had nothing to do with its programme.

Meanwhile, police commissioner, William Morrell, says there is a need to review the demobilisation project on Malaita following the killing.

He says the assumption has been that the shooting of Sir Frederick is related to the project but police are keeing an open mind as they investigate the incident.

The project on Malaita has been suspended indefinitely but is continuing on Guadalcanal.

The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation says it is understood that the Constitutional Reform consultation process on Malaita has also been suspended.

The director of the CID, Jackson Ofu, says they have not yet sought assistance from the New Zealand police officers currently attached to the force.

He says local officers in Auki and Honiara are handling the case, but he has not ruled out seeking assistance from the New Zealand officers as the case develops.

Mr Ofu says no significant progress has yet been reported from Auki.