19 Jan 2006

Fiji military denies claims security around commander increased

7:30 am on 19 January 2006

Fiji's military has denied that security around its commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has been stepped up after last week's alleged attempt to overthrow him.

Radio Fiji quotes the military spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, as saying Commodore Bainimarama's security arrangements remain the same as they were when the former Land Forces Commander, Lt Col Baledrokadroka, confronted him.

But the radio quotes its sources as saying the showdown between Commodore Bainimarama and Baledrokadroka had increased the chances of an assassination attempt on the commander, especially as a senior officer was sacked.

The sources are reported to have said that at a meeting this week between Commodore Bainimarama and his senior officers at the military's Strategic Headquarters, it was decided that the commander's security should be tightened and intelligence gathering stepped up.

Meanwhile, Captain Leweni says officers have been appointed to a military tribunal to investigate Lt Col Baledrokadroka's actions, including claims that he threatened to shoot Commodore Bainimarama.