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Fiji police commissioner Ben Groenewald resigns

November 11, 2015

Updated about 4 hours ago

Fiji’s police commissioner Ben Groenewald has resigned, accusing the military of interfering with “policing”.

Mr Groenewald, a South African who took the job last year, said his resignation is “indirectly” related to a case of alleged police brutality.

A video emerged online three years ago apparently showing Fijian officials beating several prison escapees with wooden and metal poles.

An investigation into the beating has been completed and the case referred to public prosecutors, according to local media.

Last week, the Fiji military announced it had recruited three police officers charged over the assault.

Local reports said the military also sheltered a soldier charged over the same incident and prevented him from being arrested.

Mr Groenewald, who had been pushing for those involved to be prosecuted, said the military was stopping him from doing his job.

“The fact is I don’t agree with the way they’re interfering with policing,” he told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program.

“I’m a true-blooded police officer and I’m not satisfied with the way that they’re interfering in policing.”

Mr Groenewald served for more than 40 years in South Africa before accepting the role of Fiji police commissioner.

He will be replaced by Lieutenant Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho, land force commander of the Fiji military.

Source – Australian Broadcasting Commission; Posted by Rusi Varani for SWM

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