26 Nov 2002

Solomons police deny reports that suspects from Weather Coast beaten up

6:14 pm on 26 November 2002

Solomon Islands police are questioning six people from the Weather Coast in relation to the recent killing of one police officer and a civilian in the hunt for the Guadalcanal renegade militant leader, Harold Keke.

The Director of Police CID, Jackson Ofu, says the six include one female.

He says they are suspected of aiding and harbouring the rebel leader on the Weather Coast, but most have been released.

Meanwhile, the Acting Commissioner, John Homelo, denies accusations the suspects were beaten by police and says the injuries they sustained resulted from an attack on them by villagers angry over the death of a civilian who had been working as a police scout.

He said they had suffered bruises and scratches and have been given medical treatment.

The General Secretary of the Solomon Islands Red Cross, Agnes Wale, says they intend checking rumours that the group were beaten by police.