7 Feb 2006

11 former Fiji soldiers deported from Solomon Islands, one escapes

9:25 pm on 7 February 2006

11 of a group of 12 former Fiji soldiers were deported from Solomon Islands this afternoon after breaching the country's immigration laws.

However one escaped from immigration detention last night and remains at large.

The absconder has been named as 31 year old Kinivuai Vakatawanavatu Sulua.

The Government communications advisor, Johnson Honimae, says the group was being held in a house near the international airport and Mr Sulua got away during a transfer to another location last night.

Mr Honimae says immigration officials have indicated they have leads as to his whereabouts.

"Police are now searching for this fella. If they catch him he will be on the next flight out to Fiji and that would be on Thursday afternoon, so that is the latest."

The former Fiji soldiers had planned to cross illegally into neighbouring Bougainville.