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Call For Fiji Police Chief To Step Down

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SUVA: A group of Fiji's influential organisations is calling on interim President Ratu Josefa Iloilo for the resignation of Police Commissioner Isikia Savua over his alleged failure to curb lawlessness and widespread crimes committed in the country over the past two months, the Daily Post reports.

A communique from the group put the spotlight on Savua's "glaring absence" as civil anarchy spread through the country, especially with attacks on the Indo-Fijian community.

"The commssioner apparently overseas to attend a minor conference demonstrates his attitude and total lack of commitment to the maintenance of law and order," the communique said.

The newspaper did not report any comment from Savua.

Ratu Iloilo is also being pressed to institute an urgent inquiry into the operations of the police force which is claimed to have lost its credibility.

In other developments:

* Two New Zealand pilots employed by Fiji Air Ltd have been captured by rebel supporters in Savusavu, on the second main island of Vanua Levu.

A source said the pair were transferred to a hotel and later taken to Nabalebale village in the province of Cakaudrove.

It is understood that most of the missing arms are in Nabalebale, according to the Daily Post.

* Interim Finance Minister Ratu Jone Yavala Kubuabola yesterday announced a mini-budget which will curb national spending and introduce a 12.5 per cent pay cut for civil servants, including cabinet ministers, from Tuesday.

The budget aimed to trim $103 million off public spending for a net deficit of $113 million.

* The caretaker government appealed to the public sector trade unions to support the decision rather than adopt a "confrontational attitude".

* A new administration is expected to be named and sworn in today. The delay was caused by pressure from arrested rebel leader George Speight's group.

* More than 370 detained rebels and their supporters are expected to appear in court today on charges.

* Nine prison escapees, led by notorious convict Alifereti Nimacere, are believed to possess some of the weapons being sought by the military. Four other fugitives were recaptured during yesterday's raid on the rebel stronghold.

* The Fiji Sun reports that about 400 Indo-Fijians were yesterday taken hostage by rebel soldiers at Suanaivalu Barracks in Labasa, Vanua Levu, which has been in rebel hands since earlier this month.


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