AN INVESTIGATION will be conducted to determine whether or not excessive force was used during the arrest of the five prison escapees
Police have confirmed their officers would be investigated if they did use excessive force.
Ministry of Information permanent secretary Sharon Smith-Johns told this newspaper they would determine the facts of the matter before they issued a final statement.
"At the moment, there have been a lot of speculation that there was excessive force used," Ms Smith-Johns said.
"We need to investigate the circumstances whether excessive or reasonable force was used," she said.
Amid those speculations was a posting on the popular social networking site facebook by Suva lawyer Rajendra Chaudhry who said "a friend just called to tell me that the fifth escapee, Isoa Waqa, was brought to Colonial War Memorial Hospital wrapped in a tarpaulin and with blood dripping from the tarpaulin".
"We need to get rid of all speculations and investigate the fact," Ms Smith-Johns said.
"Police and the military used all their resources to recapture the escapees. We are in the process of investigating. The escapees were resisting arrest, they were armed," she said.
When contacted yesterday, the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces preferred not to comment and referred all questions to police.
Chief of operations Assistant Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu said he would not go against the State's comment but said reasonable force was used during the arrest "and all other things will be investigated".
"Our main priority was that we needed to take them to court, which is a normal thing. It is not the first time that reasonable force was used on escapees," ACP Tudravu said.
"Police are not allowed to use excessive force. Should they (activists) have any complaints, they should contact us.
"People are commenting and talking a lot. But they don't know what police officers faced when they stand on the ground. The escapees resisted arrest and they were armed. Our officers were also injured during the arrest," he said.
"As law enforcers, we are also subject to investigations.
"We support human rights, and if we did anything wrong, we should be investigated. We are also human beings and we understand what is coming from the families and the people. They should understand that the prisoners were dangerous.
"I'm telling members of the public that an investigation will be conducted on us if we had used excessive force," he added.
The five escapees, four caught last Monday at Draunibota in Suva and the fifth caught at Laqere on Tuesday morning.
The case of the four accused was called before the Suva Magistrates Court on Monday. They were not present because they were still in hospital and were unfit to attend court.
Their case has been adjourned to October 1 for review of their health status, and the case has also been transferred to the High Court.