26 Apr 2005

Former Fiji military head rejects suggestions present commander a political threat

8:56 pm on 26 April 2005

The man who led Fiji's armed forces for most of the last decade is rejecting suggestions the present military leader is a threat to national security.

The military and police are still tracking down 13 weapons supposed to have been returned after the hostage-taking in parliament in 2000.

The Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua has accused the military of using the issue of missing coup weapons to destabilise the country.

But the former military boss, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, says the threat is genuine and his successor, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has the most to fear.

"For as long as the arms are unaccounted for, it will continue to be a source of worry for the military in particular... knowing the impact if it does fall into the wrong hands and they manage to create something that will cause further destabilisation."

Ratu Epeli Ganilau.

The home affairs minister, Josefa Vosanibola, has told parliament the missing weapons justify the military commander having armed bodyguards.