6 Feb 2007

Fiji's military disbands Police Tactical Response Unit

11:33 am on 6 February 2007

Fiji's military says it disbanded the Police Tactical Response Unit set up by the former commissioner because it had compromised its role.

In a statement, the acting police commissioner, Lt Col Jimi Koroi, says the unit had come under heavy suspicion from the army and its members showed overt signs of indiscipline.

Lt Col Koroi says apart from the seven divers, the Bomb Disposal Unit and a Half Riot Squad, all other members of the Police Tactical Response Unit have been transferred to perform normal police duties.

Towards the end of last year former commissioner Hughes, who fled the country a few days before the coup, had assigned the Police Tactical Response Unit to provide security for members of the Qarase government.

Lt Col Koroi says the unit appeared to be compromised when it was used for purposes other than what was intended.

Last week the military seized illegal sniper rifles from the homes of two of its officers, one of whom was arrested by the military.

The Land Force commander, Col Pita Driti, says they wanted the Unit removed because there was too much drama surrounding it and it was a waste of taxpayers' money.