7 Aug 2003

Intervention force opens police station on Solomons Weathercoast

10:23 am on 7 August 2003

The Australian-led intervention force in Solomon Islands has opened a police base at Avu Avu on the Weathercoast of Guadalcanal.

Avu Avu is close to the stronghold of militia leader, Harold Keke.

Senior members of the intervention force and police minister, Michael Maina, opened the new station while visiting the area to mark the destruction of firearms surrendered by another rebel leader Andrew Te'e.

Dozens of locals watched as an Australian soldier cut up 12 surrendered guns with an oxy torch.

The force's senior policeman in the Solomons, Ben McDevitt, said the destruction of the guns sent a strong message to other militants.

He also announced that regular police patrols would now take place in the area and he called on the people of the region to support their efforts.

Keke and his followers are due to meet senior intervention force leaders for talks later this week.