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12 Corrections Officers Honoured for Bravery

Twelve Fiji Corrections Officers were awarded yesterday for the bravery they showed in 2000 when they stood their ground to foil a mass breakout at the Naboro Prison. The Corrections
25 Feb 2017 13:00
12 Corrections Officers Honoured for Bravery
Fiji Correction Servicers officer’s with President Major General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote after receiving Fiji Corrections Service Distinguished Service Award during Order of Fiji investiture ceremony at State House yesterday. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Twelve Fiji Corrections Officers were awarded yesterday for the bravery they showed in 2000 when they stood their ground to foil a mass breakout at the Naboro Prison.

The Corrections Officers were awarded the Fiji Corrections Service Distinguished Service Medal by the President Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote at the State House.

Fiji Corrections Service principal correction officer Josateki Savou said: “It is indeed a great honour to receive this honour from the President with my other team members.

“Way back in 2000, during the coup, the institutions were the minimum prison, maximum prison and medium prison.

“For the minimum prison, I remember around about 80 inmates broke out from that prison and they wanted come down to Suva during the coup and planned to do a lot of things.

“Fortunately the team members managed to stop them up the hill near Butadroka.

“The next morning we heard that 15 officers were taken as hostages by the medium prison inmates. Inmates from the maximum prison also managed to take 26 officers hostages.

“There family members were worried and officers were worried as well, because in hostage situation it’s a matter of life and death,” he said.

Mr Savou said they then started to plan a way to counter the crises at the maximum and medium prisons.

“At around 9am at the medium prison we rescued 16 officers. They were well and safe. The operation took us only 15 minutes.

“The next day we went to maximum prison and managed to rescue the other 26 officers. Good thing was that no one was injured or killed,” he said.

Mr Savou said they were scarred by the incident, but they had been trained to deal with such issues.

“During the operation, I was thinking about my family members and my other colleagues. They were like brothers to us.

“Their family members were crying and asking us what is going to happen,” he said.

“It took me five to six months to recover from this experience,” he said.

Corrections Senior Superintendent, deputy commissioner, Jo Kulinidilo said: “I feel proud of the Fiji Corrections Service just because of the effort put in by the officers who  worked tirelessly in 2000 in trying to keep the peace.

“We were thinking about our family members at that time, but we are trained to counter anything that we would come across our service,” he said.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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