SOLOMONS MINISTER URGES POLICE WITHDRAWAL IN KEKE HUNT

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI April 30) - A Solomon Islands
member of parliament has called for the immediate withdrawal of a police team
hunting rebel leader Harold Keke on the Weather Coast of Guadalcanal.

The call follows the killing yesterday of two special constables
pursuing Keke, said to have spread terror in the isolated Weathercoast region of
Southern Guadalcanal since forming the Guadalcanal Liberation Front four years
ago.

He is reported to have killed nearly 50 people, eight of them
police officers in pursuit of the renegade.

There is an increased police presence on the Weather Coast after
unconfirmed reports that Keke and his supporters had killed 21 people in the
past month.

But Y Sato says sending more police will only provoke Keke and
says the Government must take a different approach.

"Firstly immediately stop the operation hunting him,"
Y Sato said. "Secondly, the government make assurances to him and his group
of the land problem and land issues."

Y Sato has had close links with Keke and was sent as a special
Government envoy to the Weather Coast last year to try to establish a dialogue
with him.

April 30, 2003

Radio New Zealand International: http://www.rnzi.com/ 

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