Human rights commission monitors chiefly situation

Ratu Epenisa Cakobau. Picture: FILE

THE Fiji Human Rights and Anti Discrimination Commission is keeping close tabs on events that transpired on Bau Island last Friday when high chief Ratu Epenisa Cakobau was apprehended by armed soldiers and policemen.

“At this point we are monitoring the situation, it’s not like we are not taking interest” said FHRADC director Ashwin Raj.

When asked about his take on armed soldiers and policemen walking into the village, Mr Raj had this to say:

“The commission is open to anybody raising those concerns but at this point we are just monitoring because it only happened yesterday (Friday).”

Ratu Epenisa along with Tunitoga Ratu Aisea Komaitai, Dr Joji Malani and Ratu Meli Malani were taken off the island by police and armed security forces personnel at about 5.30am Friday.

Police Commissioner Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho confirmed Ratu Epenisa was taken in for questioning with other key players.

He said police called the military to assist because of the traditional bodyguards present on Bau.

He said the police responded after information was received that the installation of Ratu Epenisa as Vunivalu was going ahead despite a decision by the Native Lands Commission to stop the ceremony.

The NLC made its decision because of an “unresolved internal conflict” between the members of the chiefly Tui Kaba clan.

Police released Ratu Epenisa and the others yesterday afternoon.
The incident drew widespread condemnation from all sectors of the country with many raising concerns about the use of military armed with semi-automatic rifles.

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