10 Oct 2002

Fiji cane farmers form vigilante group

11:26 am on 10 October 2002

An almost complete breakdown in law and order in a cane farming area of Fiji has forced more than 100 families to form their own vigilante group.

The Fiji Times reports that the farmers and labourers of Qalitu, outside Lautoka, say almost all their homes have been broken into and the families are living in fear even during the day.

A resident, Naleen Nishchal, is quoted as saying the men have to keep awake at night to patrol the settlement with cane knives.

He says it has become difficult for the farmers to harvest their crops during the day and rest at night because of the repeated thefts and break-ins.

He says the women have had to lock themselves in their homes even during daylight hours.

One home has been targetted at least five times in two weeks.

A senior police officer at Lautoka says the report is being investigated.