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Corrie Flees Islands In Hail Of Bullets

West Midlands MEP John Corrie had to flee the Solomon Islands in a barrage of bullets following a coup.

He has described how the small plane chartered by him and fellow MEP Glenys Kinnock was shot at as it tried to taxi down the runway.

Mr Corrie and Mrs Kinnock were in the former British protectorate in attempt to mediate between two rival rebel factions.

They were stranded when the airport was closed as it became the centre of a gun battle between Malaita Eagle Force, which mounted the coup, and the Isatabu Freedom Movement.

Eventually the pair were able to charter an aircraft, but it had to stop on the runway after being hit.

No-one was injured and the MEPs made it to safety in Papua New Guinea.

Mr Corrie told the BBC Today programme:

"We had a very exciting morning

"We managed to charter a small plane. When we taxied down the runway there was a tremendous fusillade of shots at us.

"A small part of the aircraft stopped functioning and we had to go back into the terminal.

"But the second time there were no problems. We took off and have safely arrived in Papua New Guinea. Everybody is fine."

"It was rather an unpleasant sight to see democracy marching between the rifle.

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CWN / Politics / MEPs / John Corrie / 7 Jun 00

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