22 Nov 2004

Five Kiribati men free on bail pending probe into fatal Butaritari riot

3:04 pm on 22 November 2004

Five men who were being held in custody in Kiribati in connection with a fatal riot on Butaritari have been released on bail.

One man was killed and six houses burnt down when a dispute erupted early this month at Temanokunuea on Butaritari.

The Kiribati police commissioner, Ioeru Tokantetaake, says the men applied for bail a few days ago and it was granted with the condition they stay in Tarawa.

He says the men, and others, are still expected to face serious charges.

"They will be facing charges but the case is a bit of a long... it involves a long investigation because it involves lots of people. So what we need to do is to complete all the angles of the investigations then I'll be filing charges as soon as that's complete."

Commissioner Tokantetaake says his investigations should be complete by end of the year, but it will be up to the Government when charges are laid.

The commissioner says the dispute erupted over the failure by villagers to provide food and money toward a soccer tournament, in accordance with an island rule.