3 Nov 2006

Fiji military warns police against any attempt to arrest Commodore Bainimarama

8:16 am on 3 November 2006

Fiji's military has warned the police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, not to even think about arresting their commander, Commodore Bainimarama.

Mr Hughes, who is Australian, has been quoted in overseas news media as saying police will arrest Commodore Bainimarama when he lands in Fiji and charge him with sedition and disobedience, and possibly treason.

But the commander of Land Forces, Col Pita Driti, who has 6,000 troops under his command, has told the Fijilive news website Mr Hughes should not even think about it.

Instead, Col Driti says police should be investigating and charging everyone involved in the 2000 coup.

He says only when that mess is cleaned up can Fiji move forward.

Col Driti says Mr Hughes has suddenly become vocal and assertive after his recent trip to Australia with Prime Minister Qarase and the Forum meeting in Nadi.

Col Driti says he sounds like he has taken over from Commodore Bainimarama and the military as the final bastion of law and order in the country when under the constitution that role belongs to the military.