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By Josephine Prasad

SUVA, Fiji Islands (Oct. 5, 2000 - Fiji's Daily Post/PINA Nius Online)---A major dynamite haul "capable of causing extensive damage" was seized in two different raids yesterday by members of Fiji's security forces.

Army Commander Western Henry Manulevu said "a huge amount" of dynamite was found in a van at the entrance of Vatukoula town, near the country's main gold mine.

In the second incident, police raided a home in nearby Tavua town and confiscated 20 sticks of dynamites.

Lt. Col. Manulevu said the van was stopped by soldiers at a roadblock at the entrance of Vatukoula town.

"A random check was done on the vehicle and a huge amount of dynamite was seen stacked inside the van," he said.

He said the van driver, a Fijian youth, was taken in for questioning by police, where he later revealed the identity of a Tavua man involved.

A joint police and army raid discovered more dynamite at the Indo-Fijian man's residence at Yasiyasi in Tavua.

He said they were aware lots of fishermen used the dynamite for fishing. But he could not establish whether the two men being questioned were fishermen as they were still being questioned when this edition went to press last night.

"The dynamite that we have seized could have done a lot of damage if it had landed in the wrong hands and if it had been used in some way," Lt. Col. Manulevu said.

He said the army will do its best to confiscate all "dynamite out there."

And he has called on those "still in possession of arms in any form" to surrender them to the army or police."

"Given these trying times, with weapons still out there, people should refrain from handling anything illegal as they will have to face the full brunt of the law," he said.

"The army is aware of a number of people who are dynamite carriers," Lt. Col. Manulevu said.

"We know who these people are and we have our eyes and ears on the ground and we will deal with them eventually."

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: 

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