21 Jul 2005

Fiji military concerned about militia groups importing firearms

8:43 am on 21 July 2005

Fiji's military is reported to be concerned that private militia groups could import illegal firearms into the country and threaten national security.

Radio Fiji reports that the military's concern stems from the offer by an Israeli-trained security officer to protect the Qarase government from the army if the Reconciliation and Unity Bill is passed.

Viliame Raqio of the Tel Aviv-based company, Global Security International, made the protection offer in approaches to the prime minister and the home affairs minister.

Mr Raqio was quoted as saying his protection squad was only awaiting a call from the government if the military tried to stop the passing of the Bill, with specialist people overseas ready to come to Fiji.

Radio Fiji reports that the military has questioned Mr Raqio because it is concerned that such a move would allow the import of illegal firearms for private militia factions to threaten national security.

Under Fiji's constitution it is the military which is the guarantor of national security.