12 Sep 2002

Solomon Islands police still trying to end inter-Malaitan rivalry

4:15 pm on 12 September 2002

Solomon Islands police say recent killings continue to be investigated but no arrests have been made.

The deputy police commissioner, Wilfred Akao, says more reports are yet to come in from last week's fatal shooting on the Guadalcanal plain while it has not been possible to send police to the site where a government minister was assassinated last month.

Mr Akao says efforts are being made to restore calm among rival Maliatan people following Monday's violence in Auki which was prompted by rumours surrounding the disappearance of eight people in a motorised canoe.

He says they are yet to be found as the search continues.

Mr Akao says in Honiara, police have not moved against the gunmen who at the weekend seized a ship in response to the rumours.

"It was seized so they could begin consultations - dialogue - about compensation. That is in accordance with Malaita custom."

Wilfred Akao

Meanwhile, police in Honiara say they have received reports of fighting between two groups of people in the Matepono area on the plains of Guadalcanal.

As many as three people are reported to have been killed in the clashes

Police also say they have received unconfirmed reports from the Weathercoast of

Guadalcanal that another group has attacked the rebel Guadalcanal Liberation Front leader, Harold Keke.

The reports claim that Keke has fled from his attackers and is in hiding.