9 Sep 2002

Chief in Solomons blames followers of the rebel leader, Harold Keke, for increased violence

12:35 pm on 9 September 2002

A local Chief in Solomon Islands has blamed an upsurge of violence and criminal activities in parts of Guadalcanal on followers of the rebel leader Harold Keke.

Chief Kili Lavana, who lives in Gold Ridge, says young militants belonging to the Guadalcanal Liberation Front are harrassing people and causing fear.

He said the youths block roads and threaten people going into Honiara or returning home by demanding money and other goods.

Chief Lavana says those who refuse to follow orders are beaten or stripped of their belongings.

The local leader believes the militants continue to persuade other young people from the area to join their cause.