26 Jan 2005

Fiji government says warning of re-occupation of hydro installation threatens national security

11:27 am on 26 January 2005

The Fiji government is reported to be treating a warning by Monasavu landowners as a threat to national security.

The landowners have threatened to seize the Monasavu hydro installations again if their dispute regarding a 31-million US dollar compensation payment is not resolved by March the 8th.

It follows the failure of mediation talks scheduled for last week which were to have been chaired by the former chief justice of New South Wales, Sir Lawrence Street.

The minister for home affairs, Josefa Vosanibola, has told the Fiji Sun that the government is monitoring the situation because such threats could be a threat to national security.

Mr Vosanibola says if needed troops would be sent to Monasavu to protect the hydro installations.

The landowners first seized the hydro plant during the Speight coup, causing severe power blackouts for nearly three months.

Soldiers who guarded it after that were withdrawn more than a year later because of a lack of funds