18 Aug 2003

Australian Defence Force chief applauds military's work in Solomon Islands

10:38 am on 18 August 2003

The chief of Australia's Defence Force, General Peter Cosgrove says the Australian military is performing very well in Solomon Islands

Speaking during a low profile visit to the Solomons, General Cosgrove dismissed suggestions the 1,800-strong military component of the intervention was an excessive deployment in support of just 300 police.

General Cosgrove plans to visit the Weathercoast of Guadalcanal today where intervention forces from Australia and Tonga are building two more military-backed police posts around the stronghold of former warlord Harold Keke.

With Keke and three of his lieutenants now remanded in custody, the intervention force is pushing deeper into the provinces to collect guns and restore the rule of law.

On Saturday local militants at Tari surrendered 19 military-style weapons.

Another 40 were handed in at Kolina, adding to a national arms haul of around 1,800 guns since the force's arrival less than four weeks ago.