23 Jan 2006

Fiji military commander cooperating fully in investigation into removal of President Mara

8:50 pm on 23 January 2006

Fiji's military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, is reported to be cooperating fully with police in their investigation into the removal of the former president, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, from office during the Speight coup.

Radio Legend says this has been revealed by Assistant Commissioner Kemueli Bulamainaivalu.

Mr Bulamainaivalu has dismissed allegations that Commodore Bainimarama has been obstructing investigations by not cooperating with the police.

He says they have already interviewed Commodore Bainimarama, the former prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka, the former military commander Ratu Epeli Ganilau and the Speaker of parliament and the army commander deposed in the 1987 coup, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.

All were part of a delegation which visited Ratu Mara on a naval vessel, on which he was taken for shelter when his life was threatened by Speight's rebels, and asked him to step aside.

President Mara's removal was one of the Speight's demands as he held the Chaudhry government hostage.

Meanwhile, units of the Fiji military based in the west are reported to have pledged their allegiance to Commodore Bainimarama's leadership after he briefed them on the events which led to the dismissal of the former Land Force Commander, Lt Col Baledrokadroka.

The military spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, says the troops support the action taken by Commodore Bainimarama and have vowed to stand by the commander and the institution.