24 Mar 2004

Fiji police to interrogate the country's military commander

4:16 pm on 24 March 2004

Fiji's military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, is to be interrogated by police on Friday.

Radio station, Legend, says the interrogation will be in relation to threats he allegedly made against the former chief executive of the home affairs mnistry, Col Jeremaia Waqanisau.

It quotes the deputy police commissioner, Moses Driver, as saying Col Waqanisau had lodged a complaint with the police that he was threatened by Commodore Bainimarama late last year.

Mr Driver says police have reached the point where they need to bring in Commodore Bainimarama for interrogation.

Col Waqanisau claims that he was threatened by the commander to resign from his position and not to interfere in the military's affairs.

The incident is alleged to have occurred at the height of the standoff when Col Waqanisau was strongly opposing Commodore Bainimarama's re-appointment as military commander for another term.

Commodore Bainimarama was re-appointed and Col Waqanisau was ousted to become ambassador to China.

Fiji's foreign minister, Kaliopate Tavola, has disclosed that Australia and New Zealand had spoken out on the standoff and strongly stated that the issue should not jeopardise the interests of the two countries in Fiji.