SOLOMON ISLANDS CEASE-FIRE MONITORS INVESTIGATE KILLING

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (September 26, 2000 - Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation/PINA Nius Online)---The Solomon Islands Cease-fire Monitoring Council is investigating an alleged killing of a Guadalcanal boy by one of the militant groups at a village in the interior area of Tenaru on Guadalcanal.

Co-Chairman Sir Peter Kenilorea confirmed that his office had received reports of the killing and is investigating the incident.

He said his office is still collecting information on the incident from various sources, and will report on the outcome of the investigation to parties participating in the cease-fire agreement.

Sir Peter said the boy was reportedly killed early last week.

The young boy was believed to be a student at a secondary school on Guadalcanal.

(Background: A cease-fire in the Solomon Islands follows ethnic conflict which engulfed Guadalcanal, the island on which the capital, Honiara, is located.

Peace talks started aboard a New Zealand navy ship off Honiara, and are due to continue in Cairns, Australia, next month. The ethnic conflict began when Guadalcanal militants tried to drive out settlers from another island, Malaita, claiming they dominated government and business and were taking over Guadalcanal land.

Honiara has been under the control of a joint operation of the Malaita Eagle Force militia and elements of the paramilitary police field force. The Guadalcanal countryside is largely under the control of Guadalcanal's Isatabu Freedom Movement militia.)

In other developments:

* Member of Parliament for Central Guadalcanal Walter Naezon has appealed to Harold Keke and other Isatabu Freedom Movement commanders to unconditionally release Solomon Airlines pilot Eric Rove.

Mr. Naezon said this is in acknowledgement of the support by the Western Province government and people to the displaced population of Guadalcanal.

Mr. Rove, whose Britten Norman Islander aircraft was hijacked while on a flight to Guadalcanal's Weather Coast, is from Western Province.

Mr. Naezon said displaced people of Guadalcanal have settled, are working, attending schools or have been admitted to the hospital in Western Province.

Members of the Melanesian Brotherhood of the Church of Melanesia are back in Mbabanikira for further negotiations with Mr. Keke, who has held the plane and pilot hostage for 11 days.

Director of the Government Communications Division Alfred Maesulia said some understanding had already been reached between Mr. Keke and the National Government.

Although Mr. Maesulia did not give details about the negotiations, Mr. Keke had been demanding a SI$ 2 million (US$ 398,000) ransom payment from the government.

* Fisheries Minister George Luialamo is expected back in Honiara today after meeting in Japan and Taiwan.

The Japanese and Taiwanese diplomatic missions could not give details about the trip. But Mr. Luialamo is understood to have negotiated a fisheries cooperation accord with the two Distant Water Fishing Nations in a bid to increase their fishing boats in Solomon Islands territorial waters.

The trip has been seen by many as one way of earning foreign revenue for the Solomon Islands. Revenue has been drastically reduced by the conflict on Guadalcanal.

* Governor General Sir John Ini Lapli is leaving today for Sydney, where the Olympic Games are currently under way.

In Sydney, the Governor General will be met by Solomon Islands High Commissioner in Australia Milner Tozaka and the country's honorary consul in Sydney, Dr. Trevor Galland.

The Governor General is expected to meet with Australian government officials in Sydney and arrangements are still under way for Sir John to meet his Australian counterpart, Sir William Deane, and Prime Minister John Howard.

* Solomon Islands College of Higher Education students attending a peace and development workshop in Honiara were reminded about the importance that rural people play in the development of the country.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Provincial Government, John Tuhaika, said what people do in their homes and communities contributes to a better Solomon Islands.

Mr. Tuhaika said policies and programs can guide people towards lasting peace and development, but it's what they do in the their communities that matters most.

* The Deputy Prime Minister Allan Kemakeza will again meet representatives of the Guadalcanal Provincial Government today to discuss the program for the talks on the Marau issue.

He said the Government is looking at Thursday this week for the start of the talks but this will have to be agreed on by the Guadalcanal provincial government and the Are'Are speaking people of Marau.

As a result of the ethnic situation, the Are'Are speaking people at Marau have been forced from the mainland to live on nearby islands.

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

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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