1 Feb 2007

Reports two senior Fiji police officers have left country

8:55 am on 1 February 2007

Two senior Fiji police officers are reported to have left the country since the detention on Sunday of Assistant Commissioner Samuela Matakibau for the possession of illegal sniper rifles and ammunition.

Fiji TV reports that the two were members of a special task force set up by the former police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, to investigate senior military officers including Commodore Bainimarama.

Mr Hughes, an Australian national, fled Fiji a few days before the December coup.

The TV report says since Matakibau's arrest a joint military and police operation is now investigating senior police officers.

The military has confirmed that the two officers who left the country were on a list of people who were to be interviewed soon.

The police public relations office says it has been advised not to comment on the issue but it did confirm that one of the officers who left Fiji is on leave.

The military has seized high-powered sniper rifles fitted with telescopic sights and ammunition from Assistant Commissioner Matakibau and the home of one of his officers who is currently in Solomon Islands.

The American-made weapons can be used against targets more than 500 metres away.