14 Apr 2007

Fiji military closes down Great Council headquarters

8:07 am on 14 April 2007

Fiji's military raided the Great Council of Chiefs complex in Suva yesterday and closed it down.

The Land Force commander, Col Pita Driti, ordered soldiers to secure the complex, told staff to leave and go back to their villages, and ensure that no files or documents were removed.

The minister for Fijian affairs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, says the interim prime minister, Commodore Bainimarama, will decide what they will do with the GCC complex which is about to be completed and has cost the government over 13-million US dollars.

The action followed the announcement by Commodore Bainimarama that his administration no longer recognises the Great Council of Chiefs and was withdrawing all its resources.

It arose from the Great Council of Chiefs' rejection of President Iloilo's nomination to fill the vacant post of vice president.

Meanwhile, soldiers also took a Tailevu member of the Great Council, Ratu Timoci Vesikula, from his home for questioning over remarks he made at the chiefs' meeting on Wednesday.

Ratu Timoci said he answered the questions he was asked and they parted as friends.

He said, "They were gentle with me and I was honest with them."