17 Jun 2003

Six Solomon Islanders feared killed return safely to Honiara

9:25 am on 17 June 2003

Solomon Islands radio says six people feared killed on Guadalcanal's Weather Coast on Sunday by rebel leader Harold Keke have returned to Honiara.

The reports say there was a gunfight but they escaped unharmed.

But they say a special constable stationed on the weather coast was fatally wounded.

This comes after earlier reports by police that six people had been feared shot dead.

Police were told by those returning that they had seen bodies floating in the water before they fled.

It has now been reported that Solomon Islands police last week asked for the urgent deployment of special forces from Australia and New Zealand.

A top officer, Wilfred Akao, is quotes as saying it's guerrilla warfare and the only viable approach is to get special forces involved.

The Solomon Islands parliament is to meet in a week to discuss a possible formal approach for comprehensive outside help, including help in running government finances.