16 Jan 2006

Fiji military boss claims death threat in last week's alleged attempted mutiny

9:20 am on 16 January 2006

Fiji's military commander has revealed that the Land Force Commander he sacked on Friday wanted to overthrow him and take over control of the army.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama says Lt Col Jone Baledrokadroka even threatened to shoot him.

Commodore Bainimarama has told a media conference Col Baledrokadroka was not a loyal officer because he had gathered some senior officers and questioned the military's leadership.

Commodore Bainimarama says the Colonel's actions were tantamount to insubordination but the military would also investigate allegations of inciting mutiny because they believed there was outside interference.

The commander said the rebel officer's actions had nothing to do with keeping the military apolitical and everything to do with the post of Commander of the military.

Commodore Bainimarama says last week's events were a repetition of what happened in 2000 when two officers were brought in to replace him while he was away.

Col Baledrokadroka has admitted asking Commodore Bainimarama to step down but denied threatening to shoot him.

Col Baledrokadroka has also denied having a telephone conversation with a civilian to remove the commander and denied having any meeting with the prime minister.

Commodore Bainimarama will meet the prime minster and the acting president today in an attempt to ease the tensions between the government and the military.

The meeting is scheduled to begin mid morning.