15 Oct 2002

Reports from Solomons say 7 killed in failed bid to capture rebel leader Keke

9:49 am on 15 October 2002

Reports from Solomon Islands says seven people have been killed on Guadalcanal's weathercoast in a para-military operation which aimed to capture rebel leader, Harold Keke.

Local radio reports say they died in a combined operation by police and former members of the Guadalcanal Liberation Front.

The radio says six of Keke's people and one from the police-led operation had been killed.

The deputy police commissioner, Wilfred Akao, has confirmed an operation was under way and would continue until Keke was captured.

Keke and his GLF are widely blamed for starting the civil war and in the last six months, more than 20 murders and unexplained deaths have been attributed to Keke.

In August, he claimed to have assassinated a cabinet minister, Father Augustine Geve, whose body has still not been found.