19 Apr 2007

Fiji businessmen seek return of army checkpoints

7:44 am on 19 April 2007

The Fiji Retailers Association is pleading with the military to send soldiers back to manning roadside checkpoints.

The Daily Post reports that the association's call comes after business owners started complaining of an increase in robberies and criminal activities when soldiers were withdrawn from checkpoints around Fiji.

The association president, Himmat Lodhia, says the security threat in the business centres and other areas became obvious as soon as the military removed its soldiers from the streets.

Mr Lodhia says businesses are willing to assist in the cosmetic appearance of checkpoints and providing help to soldiers manning them.

Fiji's newspapers have also been deluged with letters calling for the return of soldiers to roadside checkpoints because of increasing crime after they were withdrawn.

This is despite demands from the Australian and New Zealand governments and the American deputy assistant state for Asia and the Pacific, Glyn Davies, for the immediate withdrawal of troops from the streets.