6 Jul 2007

Fiji military leader takes on extra responsibilities

9:59 am on 6 July 2007

Fiji's interim prime minister and military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, has taken on additional responsibilities within the military until replacements for departing officers are appointed.

The deputy commander, Captain Esala Teleni, has left to take up the police commissioner's post and the commander of Land Forces, Col Pita Drtiti, has been assigned to become high commissioner to Malaysia.

The Fiji Sun reports that Commodore Bainimarama will take on those responsibilities until he names their replacements.

The military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, says Lt Col Mosese Tikoitoga, will become the military's new chief of staff as Col Mason Smith is leaving to take up a position with the Fiji mission at the United Nations.

Major Leweni has defended the appointment of military officers to key positions in the public service saying they have made significant differences in their jobs.