15 Jul 2010

Truth Commission in Solomons' Western Province reveals degree of suffering

6:40 pm on 15 July 2010

A regional hearing of the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission has heard how militants who were supposed to provide security, killed and intimidated villagers.

Most of the 33 people who appeared during the three day hearing in Gizo, experienced violence or intimidation in Western and Choiseul Provinces during the ethnic tensions.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's chair, Father Sam Ata, says much of it was from militants who were supposed to provide protection, but instead inflicted fear and suffering on communities in the provinces.

"The militants they intimidate the villagers, they went into a village and just fired their guns, and there were some incidents where people were killed, and harassment and torture."

Father Ata says the hearing was broadcast on radio throughout Western Province, and has helped people appreciate the severity of the suffering people experienced.

He says its unclear how widespread the violence was.