4 May 2004

Fiji police send reinforcements to Lakeba after clash over who were rightful protectors of Ratu Mara

7:49 am on 4 May 2004

Fiji police have sent reinforcements to Lakeba Island where the country's founding father and former President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, was given a full military funeral yesterday.

This follows a weekend clash between members of different clans over which group were the rightful warriors and protectors of Ratu Mara.

During the clash, two warriors from one clan were clubbed over the head with traditional weapons and seriously injured, requiring hospital treatment.

Following the clash the military took over guard duties over Ratu Mara's casket.

Police Commissioner Andrew Hughes says they have sent 35 extra officers from Suva to contain the situation which is still reported to be escalating.

A local chief has gone on Fiji TV to say such disputes are common on the death of a high chief and quoted past instances when it had happened.