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Police clarify traditional plea

Luke Rawalai
Saturday, March 03, 2018

POLICE have clarified that the vanua was not belittled during the course of investigations and search for the Pacific Flying School's Cessna 172 aircraft.

Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu said the force acknowledged the presence of the vanua.

ADCP Tudravu said initially they had to prioritise their work because it involved the saving of lives.

"The vanua is aware of the importance of our work and we are aware of their presence," he said.

"Officers deployed during the operations only focused on the location of the wreckage and the two victims of the crash.

"However, we had to traditionally approach the vanua and villagers to seek apology and to request assistance in the location of the wreckage on Tuesday night. This shows that we acknowledge the presence of the vanua and its role as an important stakeholder in policing work."

Earlier in an interview during the week, divisional police commander North Senior Superintendent of Police Verani Nakauyaca said the traditional approach accorded to villagers on Tuesday night was part of their policing work with the vanua.

While presenting the traditional request for assistance to the vanua of Dogoru on Tuesday evening Inspector Meli Matarugu apologised to elders, saying they had been in the village carrying out work since Monday afternoon and at the same time requesting their assistance and intervention in the search.

After police presented a traditional request for assistance on Tuesday night the wreckage of the aircraft, including the two dead victims, were located on midday the following day.

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