18 May 2011

Fiji army officer urges NZ to step in

5:14 pm on 18 May 2011

The former Fiji military officer now in Tonga is urging New Zealand and Australia to get tough on Fiji, saying it is the only way to change the regime.

Lieutenant Colonel Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, who faces an extradition bid by Fiji, has vowed to speak out about the growing poverty, unemployment and debt in Fiji.

He says he initially shared Commodore Frank Bainimarama's aim of fighting corruption and proposed racist laws.

But he says the Commodore has imposed a repressive regime under the growing influence of Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum.

He says fellow army officers share his concerns but are afraid to speak out.

The colonel says other countries - particularly New Zealand and Australia - need to step in.

The New Zealand Government has said it will not intervene in the diplomatic and legal row between Fiji and Tonga.