1 Dec 2006

Tupeni Baba says Fiji military commander does not have the backing of the people

2:44 pm on 1 December 2006

A former coup hostage and Fiji's next ambassador to the United Nations says the army's underestimated the people's resistance to a military takeover.

Dr Tupeni Baba - who was among those held hostage for 56 days during the 2000 coup - believes there will be a huge backlash if the military stages a coup.

Dr Baba says as far as he's aware the government is not moving on the concessions it already made to the military during talks in Wellington to solve the impasse.

He says the government's got the backing of the majority of the people - and the lack of response from the territorial army to assist the military is an indication of that.

"The duly elected government has got the support of all the important traditional institutions, and resource owners and the Fijian people and I think the military has completely underestimated that. Secondly the callups of the people has not been a success."

Dr Baba says this is the first time Fiji has been pre-warned about a coup and the people have grave doubts about the viability of a takeover.