Editorial comment | Raising the stakes

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Minister for Home Affairs and Immigration, Pio Tikoduadua with Acting Police Commissioner Juki Fong Chew during a media conference at the Government Building New Wing press centre in Suva on Thursday, Sep 21, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

It is good that Minister for Home Affairs Pio Tikoduadua has come out immediately to allay public fears in the wake of the alleged firebombing incident outside the Totogo Police Station in Suva.

It is understandable that what happened would cause concern among members of the public.

How else are people expected to respond to something that is arguably a first in our nation?

The incident raises many questions forcing us to think about the underlying causes.

The last thing we need is people riding on this incident and causing further alarm or, on the other hand, people down-playing it.

The fact that this happened does leave us in a rather worrying state right now.

As much as we want to know the ‘why’, the ‘how’ and the ‘what happened’ issues, we are left to sit this one out and hope investigations will bring some closure and inform us as early as possible.

We should not jump the gun and assume things, but accept, for the moment, that it is the duty of the powers that be to reassure us that they will fully investigate and respond appropriately to the incident.

The fact that this happened in broad daylight, outside a police station, and with people around, is a concern.

If the video that is circulating is anything to go by, then the Police, it seems, had the capability to respond to such an incident.

They had protective shields and were able to apprehend the man who allegedly caused that major challenge.

There obviously would be calls for the Police to raise the level of preparedness for such incidents moving forward. Perhaps the Commissioner of Police should advise us on what processes and systems are in place for such emergencies.

We can only hope this is a one-off incident.

But we live in a world that challenges us as humans every day.

We can either shrug this aside, and pretend it never happened, or turn our minds to why this event has occurred and why now, and how we should respond to it and think about future risks.

Mr Tikoduadua believes this was an attempt to attack a key security facility and represented a direct threat to Fiji’s security forces and the peace and security of the nation.

As he appealed for calm, we are reminded about a petrol bomb attack on police officers in Londonderry, Northern Ireland in April this year.

No one was hurt. The Irish police were prepared for that attack though and reacted accordingly.

Back home, as police investigations continue, we reflect on our way of life. We reflect on the beauty of our country, and place value on lives. Any attempt to put a life in danger must be condemned.