9 Mar 2010

Soldiers convicted in Fiji assassination case were "pariah group" in military

10:23 pm on 9 March 2010

Fiji's Land Forces commander, Brigadier Pita Driti, says the former soldiers convicted of plotting to kill the interim Prime Minister, were a group that had stood apart for some time.

5 of the 8 convicted last week had been members of the Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit.

During sentencing in the High Court, Justice Paul Madigan said the unit troops had received physical and tactical training, but their social and cultural skills were neglected.

Brigadier Driti says there were questions over the group's loyalties:

"They always counted as the ones in a Pariah group, something obviously not part of the RFMF altogether and when this happened it wasn't a surprise, we knew that some of them would be involved again because they are following the wrong group of politicians in terms of where they are directing their loyalty."

Brigadier Driti says the military remains alert to any threat but he says at present there is nothing to be anxious about.

He says self discipline is paramount and his soldiers do not consider themselves above the law.