23 Dec 2022

Fiji mobilises army after 'threats' to minority groups

3:17 pm on 23 December 2022
Fiji Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Fiji Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho Photo: Fiji police

Fiji's military forces are being deployed to maintain security and stability in the country following reports of threats made against minority groups.

In a statement on Thursday afternoon, Fiji Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho announced the move, calling it a joint decision with the commander of Fiji's military forces, Major General Jone Kalouniwai.

As of 3pm Fiji time, RNZ Pacific's correspondent in Suva, Kelvin Anthony, reported there were no visible signs of increased police or military presence.

Call for all New Zealanders in Fiji to register with MFAT

New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised all New Zealanders in Fiji to register their details with Safe Travel.

It said it was monitoring the situation and would update Safe Travel advice if necessary.

Planned civil unrest - Fiji police

Qiliho said the decision was based on official reports and intelligence received of planned civil unrest and the targeting of minority groups.

The military deployment comes less than 24 hours after the ruling FijiFirst party made its first public statement since the 14 December election.

Its secretary general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said they respected the outcome of the election, but did not recognise the validity of the opposition coalition and would not concede defeat.

Sayed-Khaiyum said under the country's constitution, the FijiFirst government remained in place and Frank Bainimarama was still the prime minister of Fiji.

He said this could only be changed once the vote for prime minister was held on the floor of Parliament.

Under section 131 (2) of Fiji's constitution, the military has the "overall responsibility" to ensure the security, defence and wellbeing of Fiji and all Fijians.

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