Vanuatu Police Accused Of Bashing People During Crackdown On 'Drunkards'

Operation Zero Tolerance a joint operation of Police, Vanuatu Mobile Force

By Richard M. Nanua

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, July 5, 2017) – A member of the public and football coach, Moise Poida, has questioned the role of police as law enforcers as to whether they are friends as they always claim to be or the society’s enemy.

This was raised after three people were allegedly assaulted by more than 10 officers in their (victims) own yard during a joint operation of Police and Vanuatu Mobile Force (VMF) on Saturday at around 4am.

This operation was confirmed by police as Zero Tolerance Operation to crack down on drunkards and check vehicles’ operating documents.

Poida whose relatives were badly beaten in front of him, said he is not happy with those officers’ behavior.

He alleged that after beating them, the police left the victims lying in his yard instead of taking them to Vila Central Hospital (VCH).

Poida who will be a witness himself in a criminal case reportedly being filed, alleged he was standing at roughly five metres away when the police and VMF officers were assaulting three of his relatives in their yard.

He alleged that the victims sustained massive injuries during the encounter that left them unconscious.

He further alleged that the officers were using safety boots and police baton against the three before he came to their rescue.

He alleged that those officers’ behaviour at that time was not normal, like people intoxicated with alcohol.

Poida said that an officer doing his job properly would respect a private yard and should knock and ask questions for help.

Poida who was supposed to file the case this week said that he is pursuing the case and he will make sure that those officers have to face the full force of the law.

“I’m literally sick about it, literally sick,” he said.

“You know, these aren’t the standards they have.

“We have been through a rough past two weeks with two alleged brutal killing that led to death and that could have been another,” he alleged, fearing for the worst if was not around.

He said that a section within the police should have opened criminal investigations into the behavior of these officers this week.

He said that he has evidences in hand including a broken police baton that was allegedly used to beat up the trio.

The baton was reportedly later identified as belonging to VMF.

It was reported to Daily Post that there were five people on that bus who were drinking the whole night at Malapoa Estate and were on their way to drop two of their friends at Erakor.

It is understood that after refueling at D-Dock, three police truck went in pursuit of the bus until Fatumaru Bay where they asked the driver to pull over but the driver at that time had no legal operating documents and sped off.

Poida said that the driver continued so the authorities then switched on the siren behind them and the driver panicked and rushed to reach home.

He said that when they reached the house, the driver ran off with the other friend, leaving the victims who were inside the bus before they were assaulted.

He said that if police had knocked he would have helped to call the victims into the police truck but instead they allegedly assaulted them.

Meanwhile, Commander South, George Songi, confirmed police was out last weekend on Zero Tolerance Operation to crack down on drunkards and check the vehicles’ operating documents.

He said that the bus was seen in every checkpoints and the driver did not respect the officers who were on duty at the time.

Mr Songi said that all officers who were working at the time were also risking their life dealing with different attitudes of people including drunk drivers.

He said that after the number of crimes and deaths recently in town, police is trying to bring back order in the society.

He said that the officer were trying to stop the bus but the driver ignored them and they went after the bus.

Mr Songi is appealing to the public that police are here to help but if people fail to obey to the rules then sometimes the consequences are not light.

Sources close to the police said that if the allegations are true then the victims are encouraged to step forward and file a complaint.

They said that police is a true friend but sometimes it is the civilians who gave them no option to use full force to track them down.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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