11 Oct 2002

Solomons MP dismisses Prime Minister's claim over massacre claim

4:38 pm on 11 October 2002

Solomon Islands Opposition MP, Alfred Sasako, says there is not a shred of evidence for claims by the Prime Minister that he was behind a failed attempt in June to take rebel leader Harold Keke into custody.

A group of ten Malaitan men travelled to the Weather Coast in June to try and collect the bounty on the warlord, but they were massacred on Mr Keke's orders.

Sir Allen Kemakeza said yesterday that Mr Sasako, the Opposition's Foreign Affairs spokesman, should resign over his role in the failed mission.

Mr Sasako says while he had expected the Prime Minister to make such a claim, there is nothing in it, and this is shown by police not speaking to him about the mission.

He says he welcomes the chance to sue the Prime Minister for defaming him.

"I don't have a shred of dot against my name and I stand innocent before God and before my constituency and the people of Solomon Islands....if the Prime Minister and I were to be put together and judged on integrity - I think people know who comes out first"

Alfred Sasako.

Sir Allen admitted yesterday that he had encouraged militants not to surrender their guns, but that a planned reconciliation between the various groups was derailed by the attempt to take Mr Keke into custody.