RealNews

Rebels Abandon Warlord After Murder Rampage

Five followers of the renegade ethnic militia leader Harold Keke defected yesterday from his Solomon Islands jungle hideout in the wake of a bloody killing binge against alleged traitors, the country’s National Peace Council said. The head of the council, Paul Tovua, told the Herald the defectors had become fed up with the increasingly unpredictable Keke, who has been operating from a mountainous refuge on the remote Weather Coast, off the main island of Guadalcanal. Keke – who leads the Guadalcanal Liberation Front, which is waging a campaign against settlers from the populous island of Malaita – refused to join an October 2000 peace agreement backed by Australia. Early last year Keke’s forces killed 10 Malaitans, apparently sent by rival militiamen to assassinate him, and he also murdered the MP representing the area. Mr Tovua said yesterday the National Peace Council had confirmed, by talking to local residents, that Keke and a small band of loyalists had murdered nine people in the past two weeks. Mr Tovua said eight of those killed were Keke supporters, including one of his own nephews. Full Story

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