Pio commends police response in apprehending suspect

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Minister for Home Affairs and Immigration, Pio Tikoduadua with Acting Police Commissioner Juki Fong Chew during a media conference at the Government Building New Wing press centre in Suva on Thursday, Sep 21, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Home Affairs Minister Pio Tikoduadua has commended the actions taken by officers of Totogo Police Station in their effort to subdue a man who allegedly tried to burn down the station.

A video from the incident has gone viral on social media, raising concerns from members of the public on the manner in which the suspect was being apprehended by police.

In a media conference yesterday, Mr Tikoduadua said the station was an “open area, everybody goes there and it’s not some place where you constrict people to come”.

“I think there’s a video circulating, I believe people will draw their conclusions. I think it’s important to note that this is a, well, it’s peculiar, it’s unfortunate also and it’s not something that happens every day,” Mr Tikoduadua said.

“It takes all of your training to try and subdue it because it’s not easy and I commend the police officers.

“Obviously, he came, and it’s part of the job of the police officers that they will always be under conditions of harm and today, unfortunately it happened. But we thank God that nobody got hurt.”

He said no one else was hurt or injured except the suspect who had been admitted at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH) “receiving treatment for burns”.

“The suspect, a 33-year-old self-employed male, threw a lit bottle filled with flammable liquid into the charge room of CPS Totogo. In his attempt to throw another bottle, he was apprehended by policemen.

“The suspect is currently admitted to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital, receiving treatment for burns. He remains under police guard, and upon his recovery, he will be taken back into custody.”

Mr Tikoduadua said while this alleged attempt to attack a key security facility represented a direct threat to Fiji’s security forces and the peace and security of the nation, the public should “remain calm and confident in our commitment to maintaining peace and security”.

Acting Commissioner of Police Juki Fong Chew said officers had been trained on ways to detain persons that attack police properties, “but in situation as such, common sense comes into play”.

He said while there were fire extinguishers within the station, the fire was on the road and officers managed to put the fire out.

Divisional Police Commander Central Farasiko Matawalu said the suspect had a previous case in relation to an assault at Nailuva Rd, Suva in 2021.