KEMAKEZA FLEES HONIARA, SAYS HE’LL BE BACK

SYDNEY, Australia (ABC News Online, July 23) – The Solomon Islands Prime Minister has been whisked out of the country's capital for security reasons, until the arrival of the Australian-led intervention force tomorrow.

But Prime Minister Allan Kemakeza was to return to the capital of Honiara tomorrow to greet the arrival of the first wave of an Australian-led police and military intervention force.

Kemakeza left Honiara on a patrol boat last night and his exact location was kept a secret.

Shortly after he appeared on a nationally broadcast radio program called Talking Truth last night, Kemakeza left the capital in a hurry.

A convoy of security vehicles sped Kemakeza to the patrol boat base in Honiara and he hopped aboard one of the patrol boats Australia donated to the Solomons under a South Pacific program. The patrol boat then set out to sea.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said it was done for security reasons.

The aim of the Australian-led intervention is to restore law and order.

There appears to have been some concern that ex-militants might try to kidnap Kemakeza.

The intervention force is expected to arrive tomorrow and the ABC understands the Prime Minister is looking forward to its arrival and he will be returning to Honiara for the official welcome.

Solomons Police Commissioner William Morrell denied a threat had been received from militants.

"There's no specific security risk, but the prime minister, like many of the other cabinet ministers, has been under threats of intimidation for the last 18 months," Morrell said. "That’s one of the reasons why the intervention is coming here; so the government can function again.

July 24, 2003

ABC News Online: http://abc.net.au/news/ 

 

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