NEWS

DRUG RAID DRAMA

While lawmakers were debating the Crimes Amendment Bill in Parliament on Thursday night, Police and officers faced off with a knife-wielding man on a marijuana farm in Navosa. Warning shots
17 Mar 2018 10:39
DRUG RAID DRAMA
Police Commissioner Brigadier- General Sitiveni Qiliho

While lawmakers were debating the Crimes Amendment Bill in Parliament on Thursday night, Police and officers faced off with a knife-wielding man on a marijuana farm in Navosa.

Warning shots were fired before the suspect dropped the knife and surrended.

Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho, who was happy with the passing of the Bill to protect his officers, said: “While the Crimes (Amendment) Bill was being debated in Parliament, my men were aggressively confronted deep in the jungles of Navosa with a man wielding a cane knife.

“My officers, there were about 50 of them, including the military security back-up were up in the Keiyasi, Navosa area, deep in the jungles at that dark hour, uprooting marijuana plants.”

He said the officers were confronted by the owner of a farm, who brandished a sharp cane knife. Keiyasi is one of the hotbeds of marijuana cultivation in the country, and has been the source of much concern to the Police.

“The farm had more than 1000 plants,’’ he said.

“When the farmer was told to drop the cane knife so they could talk, he continued to approach them aggressively and that resulted in the military back-up having to fire warning shots in order for him to keep still.

“They had to fire two warning shots for us to be able to contain that situation. That stopped him. Then he dropped the cane knife which allowed us to go to his farm.”

He said times had changed and Police officers went out of their way to deal with those issues and in some cases, they were dangerous issues.

“Those are some of the types of incidents that we deal with,” he said. 

“We had requested the military commander for a back-up team to assist in the operation.

“We were lucky we had the military security team to back us up in this one because we are not equipped to deal with such incidents.

“We are worried that they could even have arms that they could use against us. Those are the types of situations that these officers go through.

“I know the media loves to highlight Police brutality cases. But never is brutality against Police officers highlighted. That is part and parcel of our daily work. But while on that we are not punching bags.”

He  said the Fiji Police Force thanked the Government for initiating the Bill so that it could be a deterrent to others.

“We’ve got to look after our officers. They are there to provide that security for all the people in Fiji and we must also look after them. That to us is a great morale booster,” he said.

“We know that Government cares for us by bringing that Bill in Parliament.”

Background

The Bill sought to amend the Crimes Act in respect of offences against Police officers.

The Bill when enacted into law will increase the maximum penalty of assaulting a Police officer from five to 10 years.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, in his contribution to the debate on the Bill, said the current Act failed to provide sufficient deterrence against action, which not only hinder the enforcement of the law but also endangered the lives of men and women in the Police Force, as they carried out their duties. The Bill was passed with 28 MPs in favour, nine voted against while 13 abstained.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

Feedback: selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj

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