Wednesday, 3 September 2008 8:39 AM

RAMSI Officer Attacked in Weathercoast

Police have condemned the attack on a RAMSI Participating Police Force (PPF) officer at Avu Avu on Weathercoast, Guadalcanal yesterday morning.

The New Zealand officer was on a routine visit to a local medical clinic when he was attacked by six men carrying bush knives (machetes).

The officer who was attempting to leave the clinic at the time of the attack received a serious leg wound but managed to escape on his quad-bike after using capsicum spray. He has been evacuated to RAMSI's medical facility where he underwent emergency surgery.

Acting Commissioner of Police, Johnson Siapu, condemned the attack as cowardly and said he had ordered an immediate investigation.

"We will be making a concerted effort to locate the offenders as quickly as possible. Detectives from the Serious Crime Squad are being deployed to the area to assist with the investigation," he said.

Mr Siapu said that family and friends providing protection to those wanted by police need to understand that this is also a crime and they will become a focus of the police investigation.

Police believe the attack was lead by Alphonseus Toghovotu who is wanted for a 1999 murder on the Weathercoast.

Acting Commander of RAMSI's Participating Police, Bruce Giles said he was disappointed that PPF officers who had come to help communities restore law and order had been attacked.

"This is the second attack on a PPF officer on the Weathercoast in as many months and the community needs to understand this is not acceptable.

"We know who committed these attacks and in both cases it involved individuals already wanted for previous offences.

"These offenders and those harbouring them need to be aware that RAMSI will be fully supporting the SIPF in their efforts to apprehend them."

Mr Giles confirmed that RAMSI had already sent additional personnel in support of the SIPF led operation at Avu Avu.
Mr Giles said that the police are considering paying cash reward for any information leading to the apprehension of the offenders, in particular the alleged leader of this attack, Alphonseus Toghovotu.

SIPF Acting Assistant Commissioner of Crime and Intelligence, Peter Aoraunisaka today appealed to communities on the Weathercoast, to fully cooperate with the police.

"As a senior police officer from Guadalcanal I am personally making this appeal to anyone who may have information as to the whereabouts of the offenders to come forward. "

The New Zealand officer concerned is now in a stable condition.

PRESS RELEASE (RAMSI MEDIA)