14 Jun 2011

No damage to MSG by Mara allegations says Vanuatu Prime Minister

6:33 pm on 14 June 2011

The Vanuatu prime minister, Sato Kilman, says he doesn't think the reputation of the Melanesian Spearhead Group has been damaged by allegations of human rights abuses by its chair, Fiji's interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

A former Fiji military officer, Lieutenant Colonel Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, says he witnessed Commodore Bainimarama beating women detained at the barracks and asked for police to investigate.

Mr Kilman, who handed the MSG chairmanship to Commodore Bainimarama in March, says he cannot comment on Col Mara's links to the military.

"I don't know Col Mara myself, I don't know what his relationship to both the Commodore and the military as such in Fiji. Therefore I don't think I can comment on that."