13 Aug 2003

Rebel Keke surrenders to intervention force in Solomons

5:24 pm on 13 August 2003

The Solomon Islands warlord Harold Keke has surrendered to the multi national -led intervention force.

His surrender followed secret talks between Keke and the Australian leaders of the force.

The surrender was announced in Canberra by the Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.

He told Parliament that Keke and three other senior militants surrendered earlier today and were transported from their stronghold on Guadalcanal's Weathercoast to the capital Honiara.

Mr Downer said the four would be held in custody there.

Bringing militia leaders and gangsters to justice is a frequent demand of Solomon Islands people of the intervention force, which arrived there last month.

Extortion and intimidation has reduced the Solomon Islands Governent to bankruptcy.