11 Dec 2006

Fiji's military strongman promises action against those who speak out against coup

7:45 pm on 11 December 2006

Fiji's military commander, who overthrew the Qarase government last week, has warned that the army will not tolerate any inciting comments from any section of the community.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama has called on people not to follow the Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer's advice to the resist the Fiji military.

Commodore Bainimarama says those who follow Mr Downer's advice will be rounded up and taken to the military camp to be cautioned.

He says the factors at work in Fiji are very different from what Mr Downer has in Australia.

The Commodore says Fiji's indigenous population is rightfully very nationalistic but their nationalism is often abused and manipulated by politicians and opportunists to suit their purposes.

He says this has resulted in violence and caused misery among the population in 2000.

Commodore Bainimarama says it is for this reason that they are being taken in and warned of the consequences of their actions.

The Commodore also says comments by the ousted prime minister that he wants to return to power indicates that Laisenia Qarase and his supporters are prepared to resort to violence.

He says it was Mr Qarase who called for Australian and New Zealand military intervention in Fiji last week.