9 Dec 2003

Solomons police pleased with latest militant arrest

7:34 am on 9 December 2003

The acting police commissioner in Solomon Islands, Ben McDevitt, says the arrest of another former militant commander sends a clear message that the rule of law has returned.

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.

He was arrested yesterday in the village of Pure Pure on Guadalcanal's Weathercoast.

Te'e was also charged with a murder dating back to the beginning of the recent ethnic conflict in 1999.

Mr McDevitt says the arrest is pleasing.

"You can visibly notice from people's faces and from the things that they tell you people are feeling a lot more confident now. They are coming forward and reporting crimes, feeling confident that they can trust the police to investigate them. We think we are restoring faith in the police service itself."

Ben McDevitt says intervention force police have made more than 600 arrests and laid over a thousand charges since arriving in July.