18 Jul 2002

Fiji home affairs minister accuses Radio Fiji of false report on Fiji/al Qaeda links

5:28 pm on 18 July 2002

Radio Fiji and a foreign journalist are to be questioned about a report that linked Fiji with the Al Qaeda terrorist group.

Radio FM-96 quotes the home affairs minister, Joketani Cokanasiga, as saying the false report, which was also published on the Internet, will create a very bad image of Fiji and drastically affect the tourism industry.

Mr Cokanasiga says they will soon question AFP reporter, Mike Field, who allegedly wrote the story.

He says they are also in the process of questioning Radio Fiji for broadcasting the story this week.

Meanwhile, the public relations officer for the US embassy in Suva says they have no knowledge of any of the September 11th hijackers being present in Fiji before the actual attack.

He says the embassy also has no knowledge of the sources to which that report referred.

The original report said two of the hijackers had lived in Fiji for six months before travelling to the United States for the attacks.