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A DAY OF SHAME

A DAY OF SHAME
Special Constable Julie Tuikenawa cleaning up debris after the attack at the Delainavesi Community Post on July 24, 2018. Photo: Police Media Cell
July 25
12:26 2018

Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho has described a spate of attacks on Police officers in the southern and eastern divisions within 12 hours yesterday as shameful.

Brigadier-General Qiliho, who returned to Fiji yesterday from London after attending the Senior Strategic Leaders programme organised by the UK Ministry of Defence, made the comment after the three incidents were related to him.

In the first incident at Nakasi, Nausori, six Police officers were attacked while confronting some men who were allegedly trying to break into a supermarket.

In the second incident, a woman special constable was attacked by a man for sheltering his de facto partner at the Delainavesi Community Post, just outside Suva.

In the third incident a man who was on remand punched and verbally abused two Police officers inside a courtroom in the High Court in Suva.

Brigadier-General Qiliho said it was shameful to see members of the public attacking Police officers who were there carrying out their duties to protect them.

He said attacks on Police officers should not be condoned.

Nakasi

In the Nakasi incident, it was alleged that stones and beer bottles were thrown at a vehicle belonging to the Nakasi Police Station.

Officers had arrived at the scene early in the morning to check on a report that some men were trying to break into a supermarket.

No one was injured.

Delainavesi

In the second incident, special constable (SC) Julie Tuikenawa was on duty at the Delainavesi Community Post yesterday morning when a woman sought her assistance, claiming that she had been threatened by her partner in their home near the post.

Special Constable Tuikenawa described the attack that took place after that as one of the most terrifying experiences in her career.

She said the woman’s partner followed her to the community post and started verbally abusing her.

Special Constable Tuikenawa said her immediate concern was to ensure the woman was placed in a safe room.

While doing so she heard the sound of an object hitting the railings and saw the suspect wielding a cane knife and smashing the railings of the post.

Special Constable Tuikenawa said the suspect was hurling abuse at the officer for allegedly interfering with their personal matters by protecting his partner and continued to smash the windows and doors.

The officer said she was able to assist the suspect’s partner escape into the nearby mangrove swamp and jumped out of a window and onto the water tank where the suspect was alleged to have swung a knife, narrowly missing her leg.

Special Constable Tuikenawa said such was the life of a Police officer that the first instinct was to protect life and during the attack she was focused on protecting the suspect’s partner who sought help from her.

The suspect was allegedly drunk at the time of the incident and was in custody at the Lami Police Station as investigations continued yesterday.

High Court

In the third incident which occurred inside a courtroom at the High Court in Suva, Demesi Atulaga – who was charged with aggravated robbery – attacked two Police officers in the presence of Justice Chamath Morais.

The incident occurred when the Police officers tried to take the accused out of the courtroom after his case was heard. Atulaga, however, refused to leave the courtroom.

He first held onto the bench in front of him while he was being pulled from the seat by a Police officer.

Atulaga kept refusing to leave the courtroom until he lost his temper and started throwing punches and verbally abusing the officers in Justice Morais’ presence.

Atulaga was then apprehended and taken to the cellblock.

A Police officer suffered injuries to his hand during the altercation.

Atulaga and two others were in court yesterday for a case where he was alleged to have robbed a man of cash and assorted items to the total value of $4050 on April 17 in Samabula, Suva.

Commissioner

Brigadier-General Qiliho commended the Police officers involved in the attacks for being responsible and letting the law take its course.

“There have been incidents that have not been reported when the officers were attacked while carrying out their duties,” he said.

“Such attacks and incidents are of concern, especially about the safety of my men.

“The attacks on the Police officers are total unacceptable.

“The Government has passed laws in regards to assaulting Police officers.

“Police officers are there to protect people irrespective of who you are.

“We are there to protect you 24 hours of the day, seven days a week,” Brigadier-General Qiliho said. Edited by Epineri Vula

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