17 Jul 2009

Fiji police tightlipped about suspected sorcery

9:41 am on 17 July 2009

A police spokesperson in Fiji is refusing to confirm reports that a group of Freemasons was held in custody overnight because of concerns they were practising witchcraft.

Media reports suggest a New Zealander was among 14 Freemasons jailed after villagers suspected them of sorcery.

But police spokesperson, Atunaisa Sokomuri, says 13 men were held and interviewed at the police station in Nadi on Wednesday because they did not produce a permit for their meeting, in breach of the emergency regulations.

He refused to confirm reports that police had also seized wands, compasses and a skull.

"Well those are all allegations and rumours but officially from the Fiji police force, they were taken to the police station because they did not have a permit for the meeting, like we have been doing to all other citizens of this country."

Atunaisa Sokomuri would not comment on whether the group were Freemasons, or whether a New Zealand man was involved.

He says the men were released on Thursday but would not say whether police will continue to investigate or lay charges.