1 Nov 2006

Emergency talks in Fiji as military wants PM to resign

10:21 am on 1 November 2006

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has called an emergency meeting of the National Security Council this morning after his failed attempt to have the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, sacked yesterday.

The military commander has asked the prime minister to resign.

Radio Legend reports the police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, will provide the council with a briefing on the security situation around the country.

The briefing will include developments since the attempted sacking of Commodore Bainimarama yesterday and the release of the 7 tonnes of ammunition for the military.

But it is not known if the acting military commander, navy Captain Esala Teleni, will be present as in the past, Commodore Bainimarama, has not been invited to attend.

Mr Qarase will later call a special meeting of the multi-party cabinet to brief them on decisions made about the military leadership yesterday and the next course of action.

In another development, two truckloads of fully armed troops have taken up positions in and around the Suva wharf to take delivery of a container of ammunition when it arrives.

The military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, says such security precautions are normal when arms and ammunition are transported.

Commissioner Hughes and Captain Teleni will hold a joint news conference this morning on the release of the ammunition which Mr Hughes had earlier blocked over national security concerns.

Meanwhile, more than 3,000 territorial force troops of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th battalions of the Fiji Infantry Regiment reported to their barracks in Nadi, Lautoka, Labasa, Nasinu and Suva yesterday, two days ahead of schedule.

Although Major Leweni had said earlier that the recall was for their annual camp and training, the show of force coincides with yesterday's showdown with the Qarase government.

All troops were briefed on the latest developments last night.