29 Apr 2003

Solomons MP says police should pull out of Weather Coast

4:37 pm on 29 April 2003

A Solomon Islands independent MP has called for the immediate withdrawal of a police team hunting the rebel leader Harold Keke on the Weather Coast.

It comes after two special constables were shot dead yesterday morning by supporters of Keke.

There is an increased police presence on the Weather Coast after unconfirmed reports that Keke and his supporters had killed 21 people in the last month.

But Y Sato says sending more police will only provoke Keke and says the Government must take a diffferent approach.

"firstly immediately stop the operation hunting him. Secondly, same time, the government make assurances to him and his group of the land problem and land issues."

Y Sato, who has had close links with Keke, and was sent as a special Government envoy to the Weather Coast last year to try and establish a dialogue with him.