31 Jan 2007

Fiji senior police officer arrested for owning sniper rifle

6:45 pm on 31 January 2007

It has been revealed in Fiji that a senior police officer taken into military custody twice since Sunday was arrested in connection with high-powered sniper rifles which could be used to execute people at long distance.

Radio Legend reports that Assistant Commissioner Samuela Matakibau was first arrested on Sunday night.

The radio quotes the military staff officer operations, Major Sitiveni Qilio, as saying Matakibau handed in a sniper rifle after he was first questioned.

But he was arrested again yesterday when it was found that one of his officers had another such sniper rifle fitted with a telescopic sight at his home.

Major Qilio says Matakibau remains in military custody at the army camp where he is being questioned on how his officer came to have the sniper rifle.

The weapon is not a police issue firearm and was not part of the armoury of the Police Tactical Response Unit which Matakibau headed.

The unit was disarmed by the army at the time of the December 5th overthrow of the Qarase government.

Major Qilio says they are trying to determine whether other police officers also have such weapons in their possession.