4 Dec 2006

Fiji police say military has not attempted to take over its tactical response unit

3:00 pm on 4 December 2006

Fiji's acting police commissioner, Moses Driver, says the military has not attempted to take over the police tactical response unit, as reported earlier by the local media.

Mr Driver told Radio Legend that the report, which sparked off fears that a coup was under way, was not accurate.

The military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, is continuing to insist that he will replace the government if it does not resign.

The military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, says the visit was not a takeover of the police station and the military will follow proper procedure.

Mr Driver says soldiers have shown up at the unit at Nine Mile because they wanted to review the weapons being held there which was part of the negotiations between the military commander and the prime minister.

"A number of military officers arrived at the police tactical response division and asked to look at the weapons we have. We told them to wait until we have this sorted out with our minister."

Mr Driver then appealed to members of the public to remain calm and to continuously observe the rule of law.

Its in the interest of everyone concerned if life and business continued as usual. The central business district in Suva is oepn, the roads are clear for all travelling members of the public, services in the Suva area and the general atmosphere is one of normal working week activities. We understand that rumours and speculation are rife at this time and we would like to reassure all concerned that the Fiji police are monitoring the situation.