27 Nov 2006

Fears in Fiji of riots like those in Tonga

8:39 am on 27 November 2006

A group of Fiji citizens extremely concerned that the tension between the military, the police and the government has reached crisis point has offered to mediate between the three.

The Fiji Times reports that Friends of Peace in Fiji is led by the chairman of the Kadavu Provincial Council, Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo, who says tension has heightened as a result of the police joining in the war of words.

Ratu Josateki says the country's leaders are not giving the Great Council of Chiefs mediation team a chance to bring the government and the military to the negotiating table.

He says what is worse is the engagement of the police to bring legal proceedings against the military commander who will not give up without a fight.

Ratu Josateki says the move had forced the military to order all its territorial forces back into camp at the weekend.

He says this could deteriorate to a confrontation between the two security forces and ignite an incident similar to the riots in Tonga.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Ovini Bokini, says Fiji is living through escalating tension and it is important for leaders to put the welfare of the people above the narrow and conflicting interests of their institutions.