2 Jun 2003

Dozens of people removed from line of fire on Guadalcnal's Weather Coast

6:35 pm on 2 June 2003

Solomon Islands police have evacuated around 80 people from parts of the Weather Coast of Guadalcanal where rebel leader Harold Keke is operating.

A police team is pursuing Keke, who has been blamed for dozens of recents deaths, including four who died when houses were burnt down last week.

The police spokesman Charles Lemoa says more people are being brought to Honiara, where they are being housed at the Police Club and cared by the Red Cross and other groups.

He says they are being taken out of the line of fire.

"I think the police now have seen that in order for them to get in there the place must be cleared, because if they have to counter any attack from Harold Keke and his group, they don't want civilians caught in any crossfire"