3 May 2005

Solomon Islands Peace council confident militants will surrender

3:49 pm on 3 May 2005

The Solomon Islands Peace Council believes it can persuade a small group of former militants in Malaita to give up their arms and come out of the bush.

The secretary of the Council, Nathaniel Supa, says their peace monitors have had access to the group of men, believed to number between four and eight, and are trying to talk them into surrendering to police.

He says the group was holding out because they said their ex-commander, Jimmy Rasta, wanted them to remain in the bush.

But, Mr Supa says Rasta, who's in prison, has sent a message that he does not want them to hide any longer.

"That is the message we are already trying to pass on to them, that the ex commander did not ask them to stay. We hope to resolve that I think because the numbers start to decrease, and most of them start to come back because most of them come back to their homes at time."

Mr Supa says he is hopeful that the men, who are believed to be holding onto arms illegally, will surrender this year.