Tuesday, 2 August 2011 8:22 AM

Keke on Trial for Murder

Former leader of the Guadalcanal Revolutionary Army (GRA) Harold Keke is on trial for murder.

Keke, and his co-accused Ronnie Cawa, both serving life imprisonment, are accused of killing Paul McSweeney at Inakona village on the Weather coast of Guadalcanal in October 2001 during the height of the ethnic crisis.

Two witnesses took to the stand yesterday giving gruesome accounts of what happened. The prosecution has called on 14 witnesses to testify in the case.

A third person, known only as William Hence, also accused of being involved, is still at large.

The hearing continues this morning at the High Court.

Harold Keke was a former police officer who was said to be behind the campaign of intimidation and violence, against settlers from outside Guadalcanal, which led to the ethnic tensions. Keke views himself as a prophet, leading his people to their "promised land."

Keke has been personally implicated in more than 20 murders, including that of cabinet minister and priest Augustine Geve, as well as six missionaries from the Melanesian Brotherhood.

In late 2003, following the arrival of a multi-national intervention force led by Australia, Keke called for a cease-fire, and surrendered to peace-keepers. In 2005, he was convicted of the murder of Geve, and sentenced to life in prison.

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