16 Jan 2003

Solomon Islands Christian Association concerned about police actions on Weather Coast

11:36 am on 16 January 2003

The Solomon Islands Christian Association's Peace Office says to ensure the safety of the civilian population a police team on the Weather Coast hunting warlord Harold Keke must be neutral.

A delegation from two villages on the Weather Coast is in Honiara and has claimed that people are being beaten by police and civilians they have hired to help hunt Keke.

The acting police commissioner John Homelo has dismissed the claims saying that the attacks have been carried out by former militants who are either for or against Keke.

Judy Fangalasu'u of the Peace Office says it is difficult to get a clear picture of what is going on, but she can confirm that dozens of houses have been burnt down and that some villagers are attacking others.

She says a complicating factor is the agenda of some of the local people recruited by police.

"These are the people who are causing the trouble we hear about. So a police operation that the people want is one that is neutral and one that looks after the safety of the people."


Judy Fangalasu'u.