SOLOMONS WOMEN ASKED TO HELP IN WEAPONS SURRENDER

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SYDNEY, Australia (ABC News Online, Aug. 6) - The Australian
leader of the Solomon Islands intervention force has appealed to the nation's
women to talk their men into surrendering all their weapons.

Nick Warner has made the appeal during the official opening of
the new police post on the Weather Coast of Guadalcanal.

The rain washed out a proposed weapons surrender ceremony and
the expected handover of high-powered police weapons did not happen because the
ex-militants holding them could not cross swollen rivers.

Addressing the women who attended the police post opening,
Warner said he wanted them to do one thing.

"To your brothers, please say to them the gun amnesty ends
on the 21st of August, hand in your gun," he said.

"And to your fathers, please, the same message, and to your
sons.

"As you know the penalties for not handing in your guns are
very severe - 10 years in prison, $25,000 fine. So please talk to your
men."

Fifty soldiers are deployed protecting the new police post.

Meanwhile, Warner said tackling corruption in the country is as
important as disarmament.

Warner said corruption is what has brought Solomon Islands to
its knees and the Regional Assistance Mission will try to weed it out.

He said corruption cannot be left unattended and the mission is
examining the best approach.

"It could be an independent commission into
corruption," he said.

"It could be audits of individual departments. It could, of
course, be charges brought against individuals.

"That though depends on the evidence presented to the
police and whether the case is strong enough."

Another 1,000 police will arrive in the Solomons at the end of
next week to join the intervention force.

August 7, 2003

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

 

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