3 Oct 2005

Fiji on alert following weekend Bali bombings

11:31 am on 3 October 2005

Fiji police have gone on full alert following the weekend bombing in Bali which claimed at least 26 lives.

The assistant commissioner of police, Samuela Matakibau, has told the Daily Post that the Police Tactical Response Team and the Special Branch have been assigned to look out for any terrorist threats.

He said police are in a state of readiness.

The Bali bombing came just 24 hours after Fiji's military briefed the visiting Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, that the threat of terrorism in the country had increased.

Lt Col Orisi Rabukawaqa told Mr Downer that various terrorist groups in Asia that could affect Fiji are increasingly linked with suppliers of money, weapons and training outside the region.

He said Fiji had been identified as one of the countries that funded the World Trade Centre bombing in September 2001.

The military spokesman said bearing in mind the Fiji has troops in Iraq and has a large resident Muslim population, incidents like the Bali bombings and the September 11 attacks were examples of what could happen in Fiji.

He said this could greatly affect Fiji's economic growth and its vibrant tourism industry which hosted 507-thousand visitors last year.