14 Jul 2003

Solomon Islands refugees call for urgent action against rebel leader

10:18 am on 14 July 2003

A report from Solomon Islands says refugees from the Weathercoast area of Guadalcanal have pleaded for Australia to urgently move in and kill rebel leader Harold Keke.

Villagers who have fled their homes on the Weathercoast say the Australian-led intervention force must move quickly against Keke to prevent further atrocities.

Keke, a former policeman, has led rampages through the Weathercoast killing more than 50 people.

One displaced villager who described himself as the leader of a civilian-police operation against Keke said the rebel leader should be killed.

He said Keke was still attacking villages despite offering a ceasefire and if he is not stopped will go on doing it .

Last week, Solomons Police Commissioner Bill Morrell moved to encourage Keke to the negotiating table by promising to replace civilian and special constables in the operation with regular policemen.