23 Sep 2002

Police official in Solomons denies planning raid on police armoury during ethnic unrest

11:25 am on 23 September 2002

The Assistant Commissioner of Police in Solomon Islands, Jospeh Baetolingia, has denied any involvement in the planning of the raid on the Auki Police armoury in January 2000.

An Opposition MP, Jimmy Rasta, who is a former commander of the rebel militant group, the Malaitan Eagle Force, says Mr Baetolingia, the current Director of the Police Field Force, drew up the plan for the raid.

But in an interview with the Solomons Broadcasting Corporation, Mr Baetolingia says the accusations by the former Malaita Eagle Force members are being fuelled by the group's anger over a police operation to retrieve the vessel, Sa'alia.

A group had taken the ship in order to demand a large sum of money from the Langalanga community in Honiara.