CONSTABLES KIDNAPPED EAST OF SOLOMON ISLANDS

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CAPITAL, HONIARA

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (December 22, 1999 – Radio Australia)---Two special constables manning a police post at Foxwood, east of the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara, have been kidnapped.

Reports from Honiara say the attackers set fire to the police post before taking the two constables hostage.

The incident comes two days after Police Commissioner Rererangi Rangihika appealed to Guadalcanal militants – who call themselves the Isatambu Freedom Fighters -- to release hostages as a sign of goodwill during the holiday season.

He said there was an urgent need to return the hostages to prevent further ethnic turmoil.

He also said those killed earlier should be returned for proper burial.

The Guadalcanal militants remain opposed to the continued presence of migrants from neighboring Malaita province. The two ethnic groups continue to battle over land rights, jobs and political power on the capital island.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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