4 Jun 2002

Solomons Police Minister says professed killer harboured by police

3:11 pm on 4 June 2002

The Solomon Islands police minister says his nephew, who he says has admitted killing New Zealander Kevin O'Brien three months ago, has been sheltered by a police officer.

Last week, the Minister, Benjamin Una promised that the accused killer John Buarafi would be brought from the Malaitan capital of Auki, to Honiara by the weekend.

That never happened and Buarafi has since disappeared into the bush.

Buarafi, according to the Minister, had been living in his brother's house in Auki.

Mr Una has now revealed that Buarafi's brother is a member of the Royal Solomons Police Force.

Mr Una says Buarafi's father has now taken him back into the Malaitan bush amid concerns that he is not being treated fairly.

Mr Una says Buarafi's family are concerned that there are other alleged murderers at large in Malaita, and that Buarafi is being targeted.

"He has been staying with his brother in Auki who is a police officer, and then his father, his relaltives came down to Auki and took him back to the bush....they said he has to wait until the other two cases that have been suspected for murder...they want those people to be arrested."

Mr Una says the investigations have been hampered by communications problems between Malaita and Honiara.

Kevin O'Brien was stabbed on a construction site three months ago.