30 Jan 2004

Bainimarama reappointed to head Fiji military

7:17 am on 30 January 2004

Fiji's military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has been re-appointed by President Iloilo for another term.

This comes after prolonged public acrimony between the military, which wanted Commodore Bainimarama to stay on after the expiry of his current term, and officials who wanted him removed.

A government statement says the terms and conditions of the appointment will be discussed between Commodore Bainimarama and other parties.

This has led to speculation that Commodore Bainimarama had rejected the conditions being imposed on him earlier which included a six monthly performance reviews.

The appointment has been welcomed by the Fiji Labour Party and the National Federation Party.

But the pro-coup Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua Party has been against the commander.

One of its MPs and brother of George Speight is quoted by Radio Fiji as saying there are unresolved issues one of which is the death of five soldiers of the now disbanded Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit during the November 2000 mutiny.

Samisoni Tikonisau says another issue is the military assault during the coup on the people of Tailevu, which is his constituency and Speight's home.