18 Dec 2002

Fiji army on alert over alleged plan to remove commander

7:41 am on 18 December 2002

Fiji's army has been put on high alert after it uncovered another attempt to remove the military commander, Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama.

Armed troops were put on duty to guard all entrances to the main army camp at Nabua on the outskirts of Suva late yesterday after a regular soldier was found circulating a petition seeking the removal of the commander.

The soldier has been arrested.

Rear Admiral Bainimarama says the Fiji Peacekeepers Association is behind the move against him.

He says they are taking strong measures to ensure the mutinous act is curbed and all perpetrators brought to justice.

Police raided the offices of the Fiji Peacekeepers Association soon afterwards.

The Association's president, Akuila Rawaqa, says police were searching for the names of regular troops who had signed the petition to remove the commander.

A mutiny aimed at assassinating him in November 2000 resulted in eight deaths and more than 30 injuries.