25 May 2011

Tonga's King could make Mara a noble

7:45 pm on 25 May 2011

There's speculation in Tonga that King George Tupou the 5th might make former Fiji army lieutenant colonel, Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, a noble.

Ratu Tevita fled to Tonga earlier this month after being charged with sedition in Fiji.

He was picked up by a Tonga navy vessel and taken to Nuku'alofa, where he's been under the protection of the royal family, to whom he's related.

The King was out of the country during Ratu Tevita's purported rescue but returned on Tuesday.

Our Tonga correspondent, Mateni Tapueluelu, says the people are waiting for the King to make an announcement and there's some expectation he'll use his prerogative to bestow a title on Ratu Tevita to provide him with additional protection.

"The strong link is there so if the King wishes to offer protection for Colonel Mara it will a long shot for Commodore Bainimarama to have him extradited from Tonga."