7 Aug 2003

PNG paper claims Keke maintaining close links with Bougainville

5:10 pm on 7 August 2003

A Papua New Guinea newspaper has reported that the Solomon Islands warlord, Harold Keke, is building up arms and recruiting neighbouring Bougainvilleans to resist the Australia-led intervention.

The Post Courier reports that its Bougainvillean sources say Keke has been frequenting Bougainville and taking arms and men back to his Guadalcanal camp.

The paper says that Keke has been to Bougainville three times in the last fortnight.

Earlier this year Keke, whose grandmother is from PNG, wrote to Bougainville rebel leader Francis Ona to request manpower and assistance.

The paper claims that Keke and Francis Ona have strong links as the Guadacanal Liberation Front supplied the Bougainville Revolutionary Army with weapons during the Bougainville crisis.

Mr Keke is now reportedly receiving guns from the BRA and has been training men on an island on the border of Bougainville and the Solomons.