WESTERN PROVINCE PREMIER LILO HELD UP AT GUNPOINT IN HONIARA

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 8, 2002 – Radio Australia)---There's further instability in the Solomon Islands, with Premier Rueben Lilo of Western Province forced at gunpoint to hand over several hundred dollars to militiamen.

Radio Australia Pacific Correspondent Kevin McQuillan reports that today's outbreak of violence follows the murder of two men on Friday at Gizo, Western Province.

"Police say the two men were special police constables, who'd been drunk and were shooting their guns in the air in Gizo, the capital of Western Province and in Munda on New Georgia Island last week.

"Police Commissioner Morton Sireheti says the two were killed by what he called criminal elements of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, who've been living in the province for several years.

"The killings have prompted a further setback to the peace process in the Solomons.

"Also, over the weekend, former Malaitan Eagle Force members set up roadblocks in the national capital, Honiara, forcing a Solomon Airlines flight to turn back to Gizo, after the men threatened to burn the plane as soon as it landed.

"Earlier today in Honiara, they also held up at gunpoint, Western Province Premier Rueben Lilo, demanding $20,000 dollars. They were eventually given $1,700.

"Kevin McQuillan, Radio Australia News."

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

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