8 Dec 2003

Solomon Islands police arrest former militant commander Andrew Te'e on murder charges

4:56 pm on 8 December 2003

Police in Solomon Islands, acting with the help of the multinational intervention force, have arrested a former militant commander on murder charges.

The former commander of the Isatabu Freedom Movement, Andrew Te'e, has been charged with three counts of murder, including that of a special constable.

Police say he was arrested this morning in the village of Pure Pure on Guadalcanal's Weathercoast.

The acting police commissioner Ben McDevitt says the arrest is very significant and sends a clear message that the rule of law has returned to the country.

Mr McDevitt says all criminals will be treated equally under the law and that no-one can act with impunity.

Te'e is to appear in the Honiara magistrates court later today where police are seeking to have him remanded in custody.

He was also charged with a murder dating back to the beginnings of the country's recent ethnic conflict in 1999.

Intervention force police have made more than six hundred arrests and laid over a thousand charges since arriving in July.