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Violent 5 flee Naboro; Rise in Suva crime By FONUA TALEI and SITERI SAUVAKACOLO Five violent criminals who escaped from Naboro prison on Monday were yesterday being hunted in a
19 Sep 2012 10:09

Violent 5 flee Naboro; Rise in Suva crime

Officers from the Fiji Corrections Services and Police have mounted a joint operation nationwide to search for the five inmates who escaped from the Naboro Minimum Corrections Centre on Monday. This is a Police checkpoint near Navua yesterday. Photo: NAVNEET NARAYAN

By FONUA TALEI and SITERI SAUVAKACOLO

Five violent criminals who escaped from Naboro prison on Monday were yesterday being hunted in a massive joint operation by Police and Corrections officers.
Police were trying to establish if the escapees were involved in a spate of robberies in Suva after their escape, Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said.

CRIME IN SUVA

Ms Naisoro said on Monday at 10.50pm, a black Hyundai eight-seater van was reported stolen from Lower Ragg Avenue in Tamavua, Suva.
At 12.30am a group of men robbed the Wishbone Restaurant in Centrepoint and stole the cash register.
A report was then received from Muanikau where a group of men forcefully broke into a home and stole items worth at least $3900.
Half an hour later a group of masked men armed with pinch bars and bottles entered and threatened the staff of the Peninsula Hotel in MacGregor Road, Suva, and stole items from the reception area worth $329.

THE ESCAPEES

The escapees are listed by the Corrections Service as:

  • Isoa Waqa, 30, of Waitovu, Ovalau, who is serving eight years for robbery with violence;
  • Solomoni Qurai, 28, of Tavuki, Kadavu, who is serving a life sentence for murder and was also convicted of burglary;
  • Tevita Sugu, 29, of Tavuki, Kadavu, who is serving 13 years for aggravated robbery;
  • Josaia Usumaki, 25, of Nakasaleka, Kadavu, who is serving 26 years for robbery with violence and related offences;
  • and Epeli Qaraniqio, 30, of Lamiti, Gau, who is serving eight years for robbery with violence and related offences.

The Police Force and the Corrections Service joint operation included road checkpoints throughout the greater Suva area and beyond.
Officers from the Corrections Service  joined Police. Buses were searched.
So were areas were the escapees were thought likely to hide, or where they had associates.
Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Ioane Naivalurua ordered all available Police resources deployed in the hunt. He made it clear to his officers he wanted the escapees caught – and caught quickly.
Ms Naisoro appealed for public support during a time when there were sometimes long lines of traffic waiting to go through checkpoints.
She said: “The Fiji Police Force is requesting the public to be patient with us over the next 24 hours. Our main priority now is to recapture the five
escapees and as such road blocks will have to be erected especially during peak hours.”
Ms Naisoro said this may cause some inconvenience and they were asking for patience.
The Corrections Service is appealing to the public for information on the whereabouts of the escapees.

NUMBER TO CALL

Members of the public can call Police or the Corrections Command Centre on 3100 107.
The pubic are also reminded that harbouring escapees is a crime under the Corrections Act 2006 and a person may face a two-year prison term or a fine of $5000 if caught doing thist.



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