HONIARA, Solomon Islands (September 1, 2000 - Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation/PINA Nius Online)---Members of the Isatabu Freedom Movement Western Command have released the brother of Solomon Islands Deputy Prime Minister Allan Kemakeza. He had been held hostage on West Guadalcanal for the past ten days.

Rex Kemakeza was taken hostage when 10 Isatabu Freedom Movement members raided and burned the deputy prime minister’s family village on Savo Island on August 21st.

Deputy Prime Minister Kemakeza told SIBC that his younger brother was released following negotiations by Guadalcanal provincial Premier Ezekiel Alebua and Isatabu Freedom Movement Western Region commanders.

Mr. Kemakeza said his brother has now returned to his village of Lequlau on Savo.

SIBC understands that the Isatabu Freedom Movement members had demanded a certain amount of money for the release of Rex Kemakeza but is unable to confirm if any payment was made.

Deputy Prime Minister Kemakeza and his family thanked Premier Alebua and the Isatabu Freedom Movement militants for their efforts leading to the release of his brother.

(Background: A cease-fire in the Solomon Islands follows ethnic conflict which engulfed Guadalcanal. The capital, Honiara, has been under the control of a joint operation of the Malaita Eagle Force and elements of the paramilitary police field force.

The Guadalcanal countryside is largely under the control of Guadalcanal's Isatabu Freedom Movement. The ethnic conflict began when Guadalcanal militants began trying to drive out Malaitans, claiming they dominated government and business and were taking over Guadalcanal land.)

For additional reports from the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.

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