23 Aug 2002

Solomon's Cabinet Minister's killing confirmed

3:37 pm on 23 August 2002

Solomon Islands police have confirmed that Cabinet Minister Fr Augustine Geve has been shot dead.

On Wednesday a rebel leader from Guadalcanal's remote Weather Coast claimed that Fr Geve, who was the MP for that region, and the Minister of Youth, Sports and Women, had been shot.

The rebel leader, Harold Keke, told the local broadcaster, the SIBC, that Fr Geve had been killed because he had taken for himself government funding intended for Weather Coast communities.

Police say an independent source has now confirmed the killing and they have launched an investigation.

Deputy Police Commissioner Wilfred Akao says any inquiry is dependent on what support they can get, especially from Weather Coast residents.

Harold Keke's Guadalcanal Liberation Front controls the region and in the last three years police have been mostly barred from there.

Mr Akao says it may also be some time before they can recover Fr Geve's body.

"it depends very much on the weather on the other side and also how soon we could deploy detective officers to conduct an investigation into that killing"

Wilfred Akao.