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Solomons Harold Keke Surrenders To Australia Force

Solomons Rebel Leader Harold Keke Surrenders To Australian Forces

Harold Keke, described by Australia as a ‘renegade militant’ and warlord today surrendered to the Australian-led intervention force. Two of Keke’s commanders and members of his family are also in custody on the Australian vessel HMAS Manoora.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff tonight welcomed news of Keke’s surrender. While speaking to a gathering at the South Pacific Forum in Auckland, Goff said the Keke’s surrender proves the decision to send armed forces to the Solomon Islands to provide security and stability was right.

Goff said Keke also turned in firearms and other military weapons.

"For the first time in a long time the Weather Coast can return to peace and stability free from the fear of executions and the village burnings," New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff said.

"It is of huge symbolic importance that the rule of law can be restored and Keke and his lieutenants face appropriate charges."

Radio Australia today reported Keke as having been arrested on “charges of theft relating to a case in which he and his followers stole fuel, a canoe and an engine in 1998”. Keke will appear before a magistrate over the next few days, Radio Australia reported.

The Solomon Islands government last month invited a foreign force largely made up of Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji armed forces to restore security. More than 60 New Zealand Police personnel left New Zealand for the Solomons this week.

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