22 Jul 2011

Fiji's Mara says army will not turn against own people

7:39 am on 22 July 2011

The former Fiji army Colonel Tevita Mara says he believes the regime has lost the support of more than half the military.

Ratu Tevita is in New Zealand for five days of meetings with Fiji pro-democracy groups, and has also met with senior foreign affairs officials.

He says the situation in Fiji now is that it is hard for most people to speak up against the interime Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, especially rank and file soldiers.

"As for the rest of the fijian population, including Fijians and Indians, the current regulations that they have in place, the Public Emergency Regulations, the media censorship, it is hard for anyone to stand up. If he decides to turn the army against the people, I believe the army will turn on him. They will definitely not turn against their own people."

Lieutenant Colonel Tevita Mara says New Zealand and Australia need to lobby the UN to stop using Fiji peacekeepers, as that would hurt the regime.