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Fiji Time: 5:38 AM on Wednesday 23 July

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Drug war intensifies

Shalveen Chand
Friday, October 07, 2011

THE war against drugs received a boost with the Fiji Police Force and the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs signing a Memorandum of Understanding to allow for co-operation between the parties to stop marijuana cultivation in villages.

The MOU will enable village elders such as the turaga ni koro, roko tui and mata ni tikina to work with police in stopping the cultivation of drugs in villages nationwide.

Police Commissioner Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua said the war on drugs was not only of national interest but a problem prevalent worldwide.

He said the MOU would ensure co-operation between the police and village elders, adding that education and information were powerful weapons when combating drugs.

Permanent secretary for iTaukei Affairs Savenaca Kaunisela said the concerns regarding continuous cultivation of marijuana in Fiji had been raised at provincial council meetings.

Mr Kaunisela said provincial leaders had time and time again asked for assistance in eradicating the drug culture.

He said the ministry was looking to have provisions in the new village by-laws to help eradicate the drug trade.

Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said police raids so far had netted drugs estimated to be valued in millions of dollars on the streets.

He said police were looking to curb the supply at cultivation level to ensure drugs did not reach the streets.

Last week 230 marijuana plants were uprooted in Cakaudrove after a pig hunter stumbled upon a hidden farm.

Insp Sokomuri said raids on farms in Ra and Navosa had been carried out following tip-offs from villagers.


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