1 Feb 2007

Solomons police link a notorious former officer to alleged plan to kill prime minister

9:02 pm on 1 February 2007

An accused assassin hiding in the jungle in Solomon Islands is allegedly involved in a plot with an Australian war veteran to murder the nation's prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare.

Police say they are hunting for a former Solomons police sergeant Edmund Sae in relation to an alleged conspiracy to assassinate the prime minister.

They believe Mr Sae, who is wanted for the killing of former police commissioner, Sir Frederick Soaki, four years ago, had plotted with Australian Vietnam war veteran Bill Johnson to kill Mr Sogavare last month.

Mr Sae has been on the run since escaping from a Solomons jail, before he could be tried for the February 2003 killing of Sir Frederick in a restaurant in Auki on Malaita.

He is also accused of murdering a second police officer following his escape.

Solomons police have claimed Mr Johnson conspired with four others, including Mr Sae, to assassinate the prime minister some time between January 18 and 23.

Honiara residents have scoffed at the suggestion of Mr Johnson's involvement, describing him as a harmless drunk.