21 Apr 2003

Reports from Solomon Islands claim rebel warlord Harold Keke has killed nine of his followers

4:09 pm on 21 April 2003

Harold Keke, the rebel warlord on South Guadacanal in Solomon Islands has reportedly killed nine of his supporters in recent weeks.

The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation reports the Chairman of the South Guadalcanal Constituency Working Committee saying Keke killed his close associates because he suspected them of collaborating with police to capture him.

Rollen Seleso says five of the nine members were buried together in one grave while three others were buried in another.

Mr Seleso says Keke also killed a member of the Church of Melanesia's Brotherhood.

He says the revelation came after three of Keke's very close supporters deserted him and reported the murders.

Mr Seleso says the former loyalists are also predicting that more of Keke's followers may desert him because of his brutality.

He says normalcy has returned to most of the Weather Coast and that Keke controls only a small area of it.

Mr Seleso says the Weather Coast people want peace, the restoration of law and order and for Keke to face the full brunt of the law for his crimes.