13 Jan 2006

Fiji National Security Council discusses military commander's threat

2:32 pm on 13 January 2006

Fiji's National Security Council has held an emergency meeting in Suva to confront a crisis caused by the military commander's threat to take over government.

Fiji TV reports that the police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, also attended the meeting after which his officers set up roadblocks and tightened security to secure the capital.

The developments took place as uncertainty surrounded events at the main army camp whose gates remained closed yesterday.

Unconfirmed reports spoke of serious differences between Commodore Frank Bainimarama and some of his senior officers, including the Land Force Commander, Col Jone Baledrokadroka, on the direction relations with the government had taken.

Col Baledrokadroka was reported to have told Commodore Bainimarama to cool down or quit.

The prime minister Laisenia Qarase, who chaired the National Security Council meeting, said he and his home affairs minister, Josefa Vosanibola, will meet the acting president and commander-in-chief, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, today after which a statement is expected.

Mr Qarase said the government remained in control and he appealed to the nation to stay calm.

The military spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, denied rumours that Commodore Bainimarama was under house arrest.