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Ministry Will Confiscate All Illegal Arms: Ratu Inoke

The Minister for Defence and National Security, Ratu Inoke Kubuobola, yesterday reassured Parliament they were in the process of confiscating all illegal arms brought into the country. Ratu Inoke made
08 Feb 2017 14:27
Ministry Will  Confiscate All  Illegal Arms:  Ratu Inoke
Ratu Inoke

The Minister for Defence and National Security, Ratu Inoke Kubuobola, yesterday reassured Parliament they were in the process of confiscating all illegal arms brought into the country.

Ratu Inoke made the comment while responding to Opposition Member Anare Vadei who posed a question on what strategy the ministry had to recover all the illegal arms coming into the country.

“In terms of existing national laws, we have in place Customs Act 1986, Customs Prohibited Import and Export Regulations 1986 and the Arms and Ammunition 2003 that regulates arms transfer across borders,” Ratu Inoke said.

He said strategies were in place to monitor such activities.

“At our main ports of entry in particular Nadi International Airport, we have x-ray machines, K-9 units manned by Customs and police,” Ratu Inoke said.

“Fiji’s membership with INTERPOL enhances the border law agencies to access the INTERPOL network, a prompt international platform system that enables the rapid sharing of required data.”

He said Fiji was a country with more than 330 islands.

Ratu Inoke said out of the 330 islands, only 30 per cent were inhabited and were susceptible to arms smuggling into the country.

He said law enforcement agencies had limited physical presence in the ports, marine islands and marinas restricting human intervention.

Ratu Inoke said the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) assisted the ministry in its current software platform, the Automated Information System (AIS) that monitored all vessels that possessed transponders.

He said national security strategy was in its consultation phase which was envisaged to realign and harness all security mechanisms and stakeholders of Government by June 2018.

Ratu Inoke said the ministry through the national security strategy would work towards strengthening the community partnership already in place by the collaboration of all border security agencies to actively ensure a whole of Government approach and effective involvement.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

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