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Newspaper Denounces Anarchy And Police Response

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SUVA: Fiji's Daily Post newspaper today denounced the anarchy still raging in parts of this Pacific country and the failure of the police and military to restore law and order.

With a frontpage report headlined "Nightmare continues for Indians in rural Fiji", the newspaper published a bitter editorial condemning the security forces.

Summing up a previous story about the terrorism of Indo-Fijian families in the Dreketi rice area on the island of Vanua Levu, the editorial said one farmer had summed up the country's law and order situation by pointing to his recently castrated bullock and quipping:

"My castrated bullock has more balls than the police, the army, the President and all the governments combined together."

The paper added: "With the media reports of tears and sorrow, and atrocities, thuggery, looting and rapes committed on [the] Indo-Fijian community, we have little reason to dispute this projection of law enforcement agencies in Fiji.

"Just yesterday our paper reiterated the ills committed on Indians in Dreketi area, and other media also reported this state of anarchy.

"Today yet again we report of complete helplessness of suffering of the innocent people, not only in Labasa area, but also nearer to the power base of our government, in and around Waidalice in Tailevu.

"Our reporter from Tailevu, who covered the Waidalice story was literally in a state of shock at the savagery his own people would commit on the helpless Indian community.

"Yet the lawyers of the criminals who started this epidemic of hatred are crying for the rights of these thugs who are basking on Nukulau Island. And all this while the law enforcement agencies appear to be suffering from an acute case of impotency."

Rebel leader George Speight and seven of his ringleaders on Nukulau Island were charged yesterday over the burial of a supporter who died from wounds in crossfire during the Parliament siege last month. The supporter was buried illegally in the grounds of Parliament.

This was the first of a string of charges against the key leaders of the insurrection which so far do not include treason.

Assistant Police Commissioner Moses Driver confimed that he had been to the island to lay charges and that more would follow.

"The charges are complicated and we're still investigating," he said.

Another ringleader of the gang, Iliesa Duvuloco, has also been arrested and was reported by the Daily Post to be in the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in a "serious condition" from injuries.

A military source told the paper he had been admitted to hospital after being arrested at Korovou, Tailevu, by soldiers deployed in the area.

Two other rebel leaders were also arrested - Varinava Tiko and Jim Speight, brother of George who is known as "Commander Jimmy".

Tiko and Jim Speight are being held at the military barracks in Nabua.

Military spokesperson Major Howard Politini said the army still sought several other men over their alleged involvement in the spate of lawlessness in the country.

+++niuswire

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