Thursday, 31 July 2008 6:52 AM

RAMSI Officers Forced to Fire Warning Shots, Officer Injured

Last night, RAMSI Participating Police Force (PPF) advisers were forced to fire two warning shots on the Weathercoast.

The PPF advisers were assisting Solomon Islands Police Force (SIPF) officers in the arrest of Robert Tatave from Veravolia Village who is wanted in connection with a series of murders, abductions and arson attacks in 2003.

The SIPF officers with assistance from the PPF arrested Tatave and were waiting for the arrival of a RAMSI helicopter to transport him to Honiara.

Whilst waiting for the helicopter, a group of people surrounded the police and began to throw rocks at them. The police officers were outnumbered and were being hit by the rocks and in danger of suffering serious injury.

In order to preserve the safety of the officers and of the man in the custody of the SIPF, each of the PPF advisers fired one warning shot from their service firearms.
One of the PPF advisers sustained bruising and swelling to his arm as a result of being hit by a rock that was thrown by the attackers.

The warning shots dispersed the group and stopped the rocks being thrown at police.
Acting Commissioner of Police, Peter Marshall, said he is disappointed members of the community acted aggressively towards the police.

"The officers had successfully arrested this man but were attacked. This man is wanted for very serious crimes and I am shocked people would intentionally try and harm police in the course of their duties and prevent them from making this arrest.

"The warning shots fired by the PPF stopped a situation that could have seriously injured the officers involved and the man in custody," he said.

During the attack on police, Tatave escaped from custody. He was still handcuffed at the time. A warrant remains in existence for Robert Tatave's arrest. Police are urging any person with knowledge of his whereabouts to contact the nearest police station.

"The SIPF remain committed to bringing people who have been accused of a crime to justice and we are not deterred by this unfortunate incident."

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