POLICE IN SOLOMONS TO PROBE MURDER OF GOVERNMENT MINISTER

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (August 27, 2002 – Radio Australia)---Police in the Solomon Islands say they will investigate last week's murder of a government minister.

The Solomons' Minister for Youth, Women and Sports, Father Augustine Geve, was shot dead in the troubled Weather Coast region of the island of Guadalcanal.

Radio Australia correspondent James Panichi reports.

"Police say any inquiry into the shooting death of Father Geve will have to rely on help from residents in the inaccessible Weather Coast area.

"Leader of the Guadalcanal Liberation Front, Harold Keke, has claimed responsibility for the killing. He alleges Father Geve had misused funds intended for Weather Coast communities.

"Meanwhile, the head of the Solomon Islands Red Cross, Agnes Wale, was reportedly assaulted by armed men over the weekend. This follows two recent shooting incidents in the country, in which a girl was killed and another was seriously injured.

"James Panichi, Honiara, for Radio Australia."

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

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