24 Oct 2002

Solomons government wants Keke taken alive

5:52 pm on 24 October 2002

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Sir Allen Kemekeza, says the police hunting rebel warlord Harold Keke have instructions to capture him so he can face charges in Honiara.

The hunt for Keke, now into its third week, was deemed an official police exercise this week by the Government, which has allocated more than 15 thousand US dollars for it.

A police patrol boat has taken police reinforcements to the remote Weather Coast, where a force thought to number around 40 is hunting for Keke.

Sir Allen says the team is closing in on the rebel leader, who is held responsible for more than 20 murders in recent months.

The police team includes some civilians, who were one time members of Keke's Guadalcanal Liberation Front.

The Prime Minister has indicated he has no qualms about the police working with former militants, saying it is normal police procedure to use civilians.