CHURCH APPEALS FOR RELEASE OF SOLOMON ISLANDS PRIEST

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (July 10, 2000 – Radio Australia)---The Roman Catholic Church in Solomon Islands has appealed for the release of a priest it says has been abducted by militants on Guadalcanal island.

It's not clear which of the country's two rival militias is responsible for the abduction.

In a national radio message, the Catholic Church appealed for the release of Father Augustine Gevay who was abducted near Marau in eastern Guadalcanal.

The abduction of a priest has the potential to de-rail peace initiatives, but they will continue this week.

The government will attempt to secure the participation of the Isatabu Freedom Movement leadership in peace talks later this week.

The Malaita Eagles have agreed to attend, provided all elements of the Isatabu leadership participate.

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

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