FIJI PRISON ERUPTS IN VIOLENCE

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (July 18, 2000 – Fiji’s Daily Post/Fijilive)--- At least 21 prisoners were admitted last night to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva with serious injuries after riot police stormed the maximum security block at Naboro yesterday.

Two of the more seriously wounded inmates arrived first by an ambulance at about 5:30 p.m. and were taken straight into the operating room, reports said.

The other wounded inmates were brought to the hospital in ambulances and trucks.

Two of the injured have been identified as Peni Tukai and Anare Tokalauvere but it could not be confirmed whether they were the first two to be admitted.

Most of the injured were heavily bandaged around their heads.

"The first five who were brought were in a bad shape.

One of them was shaking all over; their faces badly swollen," a man, who was in the hospital to visit a relative, said.

It could not be confirmed last night whether the injuries were consistent with that of gun shot wounds.

Armed riot police backed by prison wardens, stormed the maximum security block yesterday to release the 26 prison wardens who were being held by the prisoners since Tuesday last week.

The prisoners armed with cane knives took over the prison and demanded the improvement of prison facilities and that the Prison Act be reviewed.

Over the weekend nine prisoners, including Alivereti Nimacere, escaped from the maximum security section.

They joined 12 others from the medium security area who have been on the run since Thursday.

Prison Authorities have confirmed that firearms were used by the riot police unit last Thursday when they stormed the medium prison complex, which prisoners had taken over the day before.

One prisoner was killed during Wednesday's incident. He is believed to be Rupeni Tubua, 24.

Fourteen others were admitted that night.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fijilive.

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