25 Jul 2005

Fiji military chief says he is loyal to the military and the nation

10:36 am on 25 July 2005

Fiji's military chief says he's resisted apparent attempts by the government to remove him in the past because he wanted to see coup investigations completed.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama made the comment amid reports that the government is now trying to replace him with an Australian commander.

Commodore Bainimarama says he's remained in Fiji out of loyalty to the miltary and the nation.

"I thought at the time taking up a diplomatic posting would be playing right into their hands and they would be able to replace me with somebody from overseas whom they can manipulate. And I thought I was deserting not only the military but the nation, so I thought I'd stay in and ensure that everything was brought to a finish."

Commodore Bainimarama has warned that the military will not allow the government's Reconcilation and Unity Bill to be passed.

He declined to say what the army would do should he be removed, but says he has widespread support within its ranks.