7 Feb 2006

A former Fiji soldier escapes custody as he and 11 others wait to be deported from the Solomons

2:47 pm on 7 February 2006

There is a search underway in the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara, for one of 12 former Fiji soldiers, who are due to be deported today after breaching the country's immigration laws.

Immigration officials have arranged for the 12 to be on the 2 pm flight to Nadi, but one of the men absconded last night.

The men have been held in immigration detention, at a motel, since Saturday after immigration officials found inconsistencies in their declaration forms soon after they arrived in Honiara on last Friday's flight from Nadi.

Following the escape the caretaker Prime Mininster, Sir Allan Kemakeza, has asked for an explanation from the Director of Immigration and Police as to why the Fijians weren't monitored more closely.

The former soldiers, all veterans of Middle East peacekeeping duties, planned to join five colleagues who have been providing security for money scam operator, Noah Musingku, in southern Bougainville.