Republic of Fiji military forces await direction to assist Fijian police

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The Republic of Fiji military forces are increasing their strength by assisting the Fiji Police in enforcing the curfew and restrictions on social gatherings. To date, 1,347 people have been arrested

From left to right: Colonel Manoa Gadai, Land Force Commander of the Republic of Fiji, Lt. Col. Penioni Naliva and the new 3FIR commander, Lt. Col. Aseri Rokoura, at Queen Elizabeth Barracks on 26 June 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The Republic of Fiji military forces are increasing their numbers by assisting the Fiji Police in enforcing the curfew and restrictions on social gatherings.

To date, 1,347 people have been arrested for violating curfew, lockdown guidelines, self-isolation and social gathering restrictions since last month.

Defense and National Security Minister Inia Seruiratu said the RFMF was always ready to help the police.

“The RFMF is on standby and we are ready if and when needed,” he said.

Police made the largest number of arrests last Saturday, placing 193 people in custody. 139 were arrested for social gathering and 53 for curfew and one for lockdown restriction.

RFMF ground forces commander Col. Manoa Gadai said they were awaiting a directive so that more soldiers could be deployed to assist the Fijian police force.

“We are ready, we just need the floor and more numbers will be rolled out,” he said.

Colonel Gadai said RFMF is already helping aspects of COVID-19 such as contact tracing, helping police and even their engineers.

“I ask the Fijians to follow the advice of the Prime Minister to stay at home and refrain from any unnecessary movement,” he added.

RFMF personnel have also been deployed to isolation units across the country to guard the facilities.

The government is believed to have now instructed RFMF to have more numbers in the field following the continued and blatant violation of guidelines designed to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho stressed that the police had the support of the RFMF which was helping arrests of violations of COVID-19 restrictions.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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