1 Oct 2003

Solomons intervention force rejects accusations of bias

10:25 am on 1 October 2003

The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, RAMSI, has rejected claims it is focussing only on Guadalcanal militants and not investigating Malaitans involved in criminal activity.

Our correspondent in Honiara says there is simmering disquiet there that some known former Malaitan militants, who have engaged in criminal activity, have not been apprehended.

Last week RAMSI arrested more members of the force once headed by Harold Keke, the Guadalcanal Liberation Front.

Keke himself was arrested nearly two months ago along with several of his commanders.

The second group of four GLF, who voluntarily surrendered, were charged with a variety of offences last Friday, including murder.

RAMSI's Superintendent of Investigations, Darren Booy says he is hopeful of more such peaceful arrests, including of Malaitans.

"We do have another major investigation that is also looking into the activities of the MEF or Malaita Eagle Force. That investigation has been progressing very well to date, and we've had a number of arrests of people as a result of that investigation. Although it is relatively early stages in that investigation, but we are hopeful in the near future of further arrests."