15 Feb 2005

No more coups, says Fiji military's land forces commander

8:43 am on 15 February 2005

A senior Fiji military officer says the army will never allow another coup in the country.

The Fiji Times reports that the army's assurance came from the commander of Land Forces, Colonel Iowane Naivalurua, at a parade of his troops in Suva.

The newspaper says he spoke amid warnings that the build-up to next year's general elections could result in attempts to break ranks in the armed forces.

Colonel Naivalurua said the military should "never be influenced, manipulated or used again by anyone."

Speaking in the Fijian language, he urged his troops to stand firm in their belief in the military regardless of what is said in the lead up to the 2006 general elections.

Colonel Naivalurua said the events of 2000 should never be repeated because they tore the military and the country apart.

He said the military leadership has vowed to see those involved in the 2000 coup brought to justice.

Colonel Naivalurua told the troops that over the last few weeks the military has been in the spotlight over the surcharging of the commander, the recall of the deserter Lt Col Filipo Tarakinikini and the removal of the prime minister's security detail.

He reminded soldiers they must keep their oaths of allegiance to the military and to the commander.