29 Aug 2007

Fiji military says Qarase has no travel ban

3:14 pm on 29 August 2007

Fiji's military says the deposed prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, is free to travel around the country and it has had nothing to do with death threats or bans on him flying.

The military spokersperson, Lt. Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga, says there were no instructions issued by the military to Air Fiji not to allow Mr Qarase board a flight from Vanuabalavu to Suva on Friday.

Air Fiji says it did receive a call from the military with such an order.

Mr Qarase also says he received a death threat in a phone call from somebody claiming to be from the military who told him that if he did arrive in Suva, he would be killed.

But, Lt. Colonel Tikoitoga says the RFMF, or military, did not make the phone call.

"It is simply a phone call that can be done by any person. And, there are two reasons why a person would do that - one, he wants to damage the RFMF's image and claim to be an RFMF member. Second, it is a ploy by the other party to use up some national sympathy or international attention."

Lt. Colonel Tikoitoga.