19 May 2003

Melanesian Brothers held as prisoners of war by Solomon's rebel

5:06 pm on 19 May 2003

A Solomon Islands MP who has contact with the Weather Coast rebel Harold Keke says he is holding six members of the Melanesian Brotherhood as prisoners of war.

The Melanesian Brothers were taken hostage by Keke about three weeks ago after they had gone to try and establish a dialogue with him.

This came after at least 13 recent killings had been attributed to the rebel leader.

Among the dead was a Melanesian Brother, Nathaniel Sado.

MP Y Sato says an eight page letter he has received from Keke indicates the rebel leader thought the church group was spying.

"in his letter he mentioned they are looking for the location of Harold Keke, or something, he understood, like a spy action, so this might be why Harold Keke recognizes them as prisoners of war"