8 May 2004

Fiji's National Security Council to assess Bainimarama threat

6:16 am on 8 May 2004

Fiji's National Security Council will meet next week to decide whether it will pursue allegations that the army commander planned to overthrow the Qarase government last December.

Fiji TV says this has been confirmed by the attorney general, Qorini-asi Bale, who says the alleged plan drawn up by Commodore Frank Bainimarama, will be assessed as a possible threat to national security.

Mr Bale, says his legal opinion will only be made available to Mr Qarase who is chairman of the National Security Council.

Commodore Bainimarama, who's visiting military installations in the United States, is an adviser to the National Security Council, as is the police commissioner, Andrew Hughes.

The allegations have been made by three military officers, who say they refused to go along with the plan and released a signed statement on Thursday.

They claim that Commodore Bainimarama told them to draw up detailed plans to remove the Qarase government, if his term as commander was not renewed, but leave in place President Iloilo, and the Great Council of Chiefs.