4 Feb 2005

Fiji army officer seconded to UN says he will not accept order to return home

11:15 am on 4 February 2005

The controversial Fiji army officer, Lt Col Filipo Tarakinikini, says he will not give in to pressure from the military to return and help in coup investigations.

Tarakinikini, who is employed by the United Nations peacekeeping department in Jerusalem, has told the Fiji Times the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, has a personal agenda against him.

He says Commodore Bainimarama is making a big issue out of something which, for the UN, is a non-issue.

He says Fiji has come of out of the situation it experienced in 2000 and he should be commended for what he did to bring the country to normalcy.

Tarakinikini says if the army is willing to substantiate the evidence against him, he is willing to return to answer them.

Fiji's military has questioned the ethics of the United Nations in continuing to employ a senior officer who has been declared a deserter.

Commodore Bainimarama says it is up to the UN and Tarakinikini to respect the decision of the president and commander in chief ordering him to return.

As a deserter, Tarakinikini faces immediate arrest by military police in Fiji.