5 Nov 2007

Fiji's military says it will not re introduce emergency regulatons

9:08 am on 5 November 2007

Fiji's military says it will not impose Public Emergency Regulations following an alleged conspiracy to assassinate the interim prime minister, Commodore Bainimarama, members of his cabinet and some senior military officers.

The military spokesman, Lt Col Mosese Tikoitoga, has told the Fiji Times there is no need to further tighten security around Commodore Bainimarama because he has had tight security all the time.

He says the police and the military are working together to maintain law and order and they will nip any plots against the interim regime in the bud.

Lt Col Tikoitoga says weapons could easily be accessed from neighbouring countries and they need to arrest everyone involved to prevent such conspiracies from unfolding.

The number of people detained for questioning over the plot climbed to 15 overnight.

They include the Naitasiri paramount chief and former SDL party vice president, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, his brother-in-law and former army officer, Col Jone Baledrokadroka, and SDL party director, Peceli Kinivuwai.

Also under detention are businessman and New Zealand citizen, Ballu Khan, and several former soldiers of the now disbanded Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit who staged the November 2000 mutiny.

Meanwhile, the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre has denied being part of the assassination plot.

Its coordinator, Shamima Ali, issued the denial after the police commissioner, Commodore Esala Teleni, claimed some of those taken in had the financial backing of certain NGOs which are funded by neighbouring governments.

Ms Ali says they are a human rights organisation and have no problems being questioned by police who are welcome to check their financial records.

Another NGO, the Pacific Centre for Public Integrity, says unless the police make public the evidence to support allegations of a conspiracy the whole exercise will be seen as a diversionary tactic to delay free and fair elections.