19 Apr 2007

Four Solomons militants given life sentences for 2003 murders

6:24 pm on 19 April 2007

Four former Solomon Islands militants have been found guilty of murdering two men by beating them to death in front of hundreds of terrorised villagers during the country's ethnic tensions.

The four were members of the militant group, the Guadalcanal Liberation Front, which for two days in June of 2003 held the villagers of Marasa on the Weather Coast of Guadalcanal at gunpoint, before killing the two men and then burning down the village.

The militants had gone to Marasa to punish the villagers for allegedly aiding a government police team sent to the area to try to capture notorious GLF leader Harold Keke.

The four were also found guilty of wrongful confinement of villagers, arson and being members of an unlawful society.

Ronnie Cawa, Michael Captain Dou, Gedley Isa and Owen Isa face mandatory life sentences for murdering John Lovana and Adrian Belo.

The month after the Marasa incident, the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands entered the country in a bid to restore law and order.