REWARD FOR SUSPECTED GUADALCANAL MILITANT LEADERS

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 23, 1999 - PACNEWS/SIBC)---Police in the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara, have placed a combined US$ 13,000 reward on the heads of two suspected Guadalcanal militant leaders who have been charged with a shooting incident on Bungana Island last year.

Police Commissioner Frank Short made the announcement after the two men escaped from police custody.

"Police are offering US$ 13,000 for any information leading to the early arrest and conviction of Harold Keke and Joseph Sangu, commonly known as Joe," Short said.

He said they are wanted for a series of violent crimes, including attempted murder, armed robbery and being in possession of unlicensed firearms.

Short said police have offered a reward of US$ 6,200 for each of the suspects. He said any information regarding the wanted men should be passed on to the Director of CID, Chief Superintendent John Parafea.

They were released on bail by the court after they were arrested at Bungana Island last December, but Keke and Sangu breached their bail conditions and evaded police.

SOLOMON ISLANDS POLICE CHIEF DEFENDS ROADBLOCKS

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 23, 1999 - Radio Australia)---Solomon Islands Police Commissioner Frank Short has defended the use of roadblocks in the west of Guadalcanal province, saying he had reliable information that militants planned to continue their activities in the area.

There has been criticism from the local citizenry about the setting up of a police post near the Tambea resort in western Guadalcanal, with claims that police have been firing their weapons indiscriminately.

However, Short said the roadblocks are necessary to end the militants' activities.

He also said that initial reports from his commanders at Tambea indicate there has been no random firing of guns by officers. A senior officer has been sent to the area to investigate the claims.

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