2 Oct 2003

Chair of Solomons Peace Council urges patience over arrests of Malaitan militants

9:40 am on 2 October 2003

The chairman of the Solomon Islands National Peace Council says there is a mixed reaction to the arrests of Guadalcanal militants when few Malaitans have been apprehended.

Paul Tovua says people need to realise that the process leading to arrests is complicated.

Mr Tovua says authorities are careful in their investigations, which take time.

"There others, who are former commanders of MEF are still at large. It is not as simple or easy as a lot of people here in the Solomon Island think. RAMSI clearly, the police will have to depend on a lot of hard core evidence before an arrest is made and later on charged."

Last week, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, or RAMSI, arrested members of the Guadalcanal Liberation Front, once headed by Harold Keke, and charged them with murder.

Keke himself was arrested nearly two months ago with several of his commanders.

To date no leading former Malaitan militants have been arrested by the RAMSI force.