22 Mar 2004

Fiji's military commander says all coup supporters must be removed from positions of power

11:51 am on 22 March 2004

Fiji's military commander says the country will never be stable if those who supported George Speight's aims and the coup are not removed from positions of power and responsibility.

In a statement issued though his spokesman, Commodore Frank Bainimarama says this requires real and substantive action and political will, not just empty words.

Commodore Bainimarama wants the removal of two more home affairs officials after the ousting of the chief executive, Colonel Jeremia Waqanisau, as well as the head of the Prime Minister's office, Joiji Kotobalavu.

Commodore Bainimarama says these three men are responsible for a large part of the continuing instability between the military and the Ministry of Home Affairs, although relations with the current minister, Joketani Cokanasiga, are amicable.

He says the lives lost and the resources expended by the military to bring back stability after the coup "cannot be squandered by the same people who wish to take the country back as if recent history were not lesson enough."