27 Feb 2007

Fiji military rejects claims they planned to kidnap police commissioner and his family

7:30 pm on 27 February 2007

Fiji's military has strongly rejected claims made by the former police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, that the army planned to kidnap him and his family as a bargaining chip with the deposed Qarase government.

According to a Canberra Times report, Mr Hughes, who fled Fiji a few days before the coup, said the military, at the behest of Commodore Bainimarama, was planning to kidnap him, his wife and their twin 17-year old sons.

He claims they were to be held to force the Qarase government to meet Commodore Bainimarama's demands which included the sacking of the commissioner.

Mr Hughes said the Pacific was a very volatile region but it should not dissuade other Australian police officers from serving in the region.

But the Fiji military's Land Force commander, Col Pita Driti, has told Radio Legend the army was not planning to kidnap Mr Hughes and he should stop coming up with such childish claims.

Col Driti says Mr Hughes should stop trying to create a lot of unnecessary sensation and making a lot of song and dance out of his fate to win sympathy.