28 Aug 2002

Solomons Archbishop says Fr Geve's killing set a dangerou precedent

11:01 am on 28 August 2002

The Catholic Archbishop of Solomon Islands, Adrian Smith, says the killing of Cabinet Minister Fr Augustine Geve has set a dangerous precedent.

Fr Geve, who had been suspended from his church duties after entering politics at the last election, was assassinated last week on the remote Weather Coast on Guadalcanal.

The rebel leader Harold Keke, who controls the Weather coast with his Guadalcanal Liberation Front, has claimed responsibility for the killing. .

Archbishop Smith says the killing has shocked the nation and he says he hopes it is not sign of things to come.

"It's the first time that some one holding the office of priest or government minister has been murdered and I suppose it is making us all ask the question how much more do we have to endure before we get lasting peace...perhaps the death of Fr Geve will make people realise that they have gone too far."

Archbishop Smith says despite his concerns the Catholic Church would never pull out of the Weather Coast region.