FIJI NEWS

Face-off

Escapees were armed and resisted, security personnel suffered injuries By MAIKA BOLATIKI Police have confirmed that its officers and security personnel suffered injuries because the recaptured escapees had resisted. Assistant
26 Sep 2012 11:14

Draunibota Island ... Located in the Bay of Islands, Suva. This is where four of the five escapees were sheltering when Police officers and military personnel confronted the inmates. Police confirmed that they faced some resistance and had to use reasonable force to detain the four men. Some security personnel were also injured in the process. Photo: JONA KONATACI

Escapees were armed and resisted,
security personnel suffered injuries

By MAIKA BOLATIKI

Police have confirmed that its officers and security personnel suffered injuries because the recaptured escapees had resisted.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Rusiate Tudravu said four of the five, who escaped from the Naboro Medium Facility, were armed with cane knives when they were confronted at Draunibota Island in Suva by police officers and military personnel.
“The escapees resisted arrest and the police and soldiers had to use force to overcome them,” ACP Tudravu said.
“I must admit that the injuries sustained by the escapees are not from violent beating as claimed by some members of the public.
“The officers had to use reasonable force to overcome them as the escapees were armed.”
He said during the confrontation at Draunibota Island, the security officers involved were sworn at by the escapees.
“The terrain at Draunibota Island was very rugged and the security officers injured themselves during the chase as it was dark.”
Yesterday morning, the fifth escapee, Isoa Waqa, was recaptured at Laqere following a tip-off from the operations team. He was with a female, believed to be Waqa’s girlfriend.
“We captured Waqa at about 3.30am this morning in Laqere. He was in a taxi with a girl believed to be his girlfriend,” ACP Tudravu said.
Waqa and the girl have been arrested.
ACP Tudravu also confirmed that only two of the five escapees remain in the Colonial War Memorial Hospital and two are in the Corrections Hospital in Korovou.
Commenting on the whole operation, ACP Tudravu said it was not budgeted so their operation was really stretched but they managed to draw funds from within.
Meanwhile, Fiji Corrections Commissioner Lieutenant-Colonel Ifereimi Vasu told the Fiji Sun yesterday that all visitors to inmates would be subject to a thorough search by officers of the Fiji Corrections Service to curb the increased trafficking of contrabands into the facility.
Each inmate will be allowed a maximum of three visitors only which should include nuclear family members during their entire period of incarceration,” Lieutenant-Colonel Vasu said.
The decision was made as the Service moves to strengthen operational loopholes highlighted by last week’s prison break incident at the Naboro Medium Facility.
Other security strategies to be adopted include:
n two days allocated for visitations to remand inmates in a week;
n fruits brought in by visitors will be eaten within the visiting area only and are not to be taken into their cells;
n only fruits will be allowed in by visitors;
n number of Family Days to be reduced and only special categories of inmates will be eligible; and
n special visits allowed in circumstances such as death, business or for lawyers
Investigations into the circumstances that led to the September 17 escape are expected to be completed soon.
In response to the latest media reports, Permanent Secretary for Information, Sharon Smith-Johns said that the Fijian Government did not condone the excessive force used in the apprehension of recaptured prisoners who escaped from Naboro Prison last Monday.
“Such incidents are unfortunate and the Government makes it clear that behaviour of this nature is unacceptable. We are investigating the circumstances.” Ms Smith-Johns said.



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