16 Mar 2006

Fiji military and police mend relationship after spat

9:08 pm on 16 March 2006

Fiji's military claims this week's stand-off between the army and the police over firearms has now blown over.

The police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, held talks with the head of the military today after the army accused him of diverting nearly 1.5 million US dollars worth of firearms meant for its troops in Iraq.

The military had accused Mr Hughes of arming the police in a challenge to the army's role as the final custodian of Fiji's national security.

A senior military spokesman, Lt Col Orisi Rabukawaqa, says the military had misunderstood the recent purchase by the police, approved by the Ministry of Finance.

"The misunderstanding has come because the tender number allocated to the police was in fact allocated to the military for exactly the same items."

Lt Col Rabukawaqa says the fact remains that equipment destined for the protection of troops in a war zone was diverted to police.