Police investigate Gizo escape incident

By Gary Hatigeva

TWO officers from the Professional Standards and Internal Investigating team of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) are currently in Gizo to investigate how the remanded Bougainvilleans managed to escape custody.

The officers were part of the last load of personnel who flew down to Gizo yesterday evening and are now on the ground making inquiries and reporting back to Headquarters about what occurred.

“Part of our inquiry and part of our investigation at the moment is and will be, how the escape occurred.”

Meanwhile, questions were raised on the circumstances surrounding the escape of the 29 men who were arrested on Tuesday for what could be a number of alleged offences under Solomon Islands laws.

In his weekly meeting with the local media, Police Commissioner Mathew Varley accepted the humiliation on behalf of what had happened and taking full responsibility.

“We understand that the community is also still very concerned about this issue and about the legitimate questions around how the escape occurred.

“We understand, that in time, there are serious questions for the RSIPF to answer and I don’t shy away from that and we accept responsibility for what occurred and we are working very hard to make sure that the situation is returned to normal, safely and peacefully,” Mr Varley said.

He further explained that at this stage the inquiries are in an early stage and it’s too early for his office to make any decisions or judgments on exactly what and how the escape incident happened.

He however stressed that while the investigation is on, the force’s number one priority at the moment is on the search of the men and the safety of the community.

Varley reiterated his calls to anyone in Gizo town who may have information to see police there or call 999 and help solve the matter.

He said that people with knowledge of where these men are, or maybe in communication with them, should come forward and provide the information to the police in confidence.

“I want to assure the community that those men are no risk or no danger to the community at this time, we have no intelligence to suggest that they pause an immediate threat but of course they are deemed as foreign nationals without immigration approval.

“We do believe that there are people in the Gizo community who know where these men are and we would like people to take responsibility and come forward and provide those information to police,” the police commissioner added.

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