FIJI CLANS CLASH OVER CHIEFLY TITLE DISPUTE

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Seema Sharma

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Aug. 31) - A disgruntled group of Fiji landowners has threatened to take the law into its own hands if police are unable protect its members.

Maikali Drauna, the spokesperson for the Wasavulu clan in Naseakula Village in Labasa, issued the warning after claiming that the homes of clan members were stoned and a car was damaged early yesterday morning.

The Wasavulu clan is presently involved in a dispute over the Tui Labasa title.

Drauna said police failed to turn up although his cousin Laisenia Drauna, a prison officer, called several times after the car stoning incident at 1:50 a.m.

He said some of his relatives' homes were also stoned. Drauna (Laisenia) said he was sleeping and a few relatives were drinking ‘yaqona’ when his car was allegedly stoned.

He said they did not see who stoned the car and damaged the back windscreen.

Drauna said after police did not turn up he walked to the main road and tried to stop passing police vehicles but failed.

He said he had to report to work at 4:00 a.m. so he drove the car to the Labasa Police Station at 3:45 a.m. and lodged a complaint.

Police took two stones found in the car for investigations.

The division's crime prevention co-coordinator, Inspector Esekaia Daugunu said the allegations were being investigated.

He advised clan members not to take the law into their own hands and promised to visit the village today and talk to the elders.

Meanwhile, an appeal against the Native Land Commission's decision over the Tui Labasa title will be filed today.

The commission announced last month that the titleholder was Adi Salanieta.

Members of the Wasavulu clan claim they were not given a fair hearing by the commission.

September 1, 2006

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com .

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