11 Oct 2010

Soldiers called in in Fiji after suspicions of sugar mill sabotage

4:12 pm on 11 October 2010

Fiji's interim government says it has deployed soldiers at sugar mills because it suspects sabotage.

One soldier is posted at each of 3 mills, overseeing the point where cane is delivered.

The sugar permanent secretary, Manasa Vaniqi, says officials have long suspected some form of collusion at the mills.

"There's so many other people that are involved. I think it's also common knowledge, that the mill, over the years has been deeply politicised. Deeply politicised. I reiterate that statement. And these are the people who have been making havoc of the sugar. The crushing, and they have gone even to the farmers and [told them] that they should not crush their cane. And this all happens inside the mill. There is a network that's involved."

Manasa Vaniqi says as soon as the mills can be secured by staff of the Fiji Sugar Corporation, which operate them, the soldiers will pull out.