3 Oct 2002

Militants in Solomon Islands attach conditions to further weapons handover

11:51 am on 3 October 2002

In Solomon Islands, former commanders of the rebel militant group, the Malaitan Eagle Force, have warned the government of what they call serious security risks if their members are forcibly disarmed.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Sir Allen Kemakeza, eight former commanders of the MEF say they will refuse to disarm until the Guadalcanal rebel leader, Harold Keke, has surrendered his guns.

They says any attempt to disarm should form part of a broader arrangement involving all militant groups in the country.

The former commanders suggest finding a new formula and reviewing the Townsville Peace Agreement to accommodate the changes.

They condemned the recent police operation to recover a stolen boat from one of the commanders who signed the letter.

They say it caused injury to an innocent man.

The former commanders say they will oppose any efforts by police to remove guns from former MEF members when no attempt is being made to apprehend Harold Keke.