22 Nov 2004

Kiribati police hope to complete Burtaritari probe in 5 weeks

4:22 pm on 22 November 2004

Police in Kiribati say they hope to complete their investigations over the next five weeks into a riot that left a man dead and houses burnt on Butaritari.

The Kiribati Police Commissioner, Ioeru Tokantetaake, says five men being held in custody in connection with the riot were released on bail in Tarawa over the past few days.

He says police investigations will take until the end of the year, because there are many people to talk to, but serious charges should follow.

He says the five men, all aged over 20, were successful in a bail application.

"They were released just a few days ago and they are now on Tarawa. I think there should be a condition that they need to be staying on Tarawa until the time that they are to be appearing in court."

Commissioner Tokantetaake says the riots erupted after villagers at Temanokunuea failed to provide food and money, in accordance with an island rule, to support a soccer tournament.