Fiji military get involved in sedition investigation
Fiji's military is sending 140 infantry to help police investigate groups undertaking alledged seditious behaviour.
Fiji's military are sending 140 infantry to help police investigate groups undertaking alleged seditious behaviour.
65 people have appeared in court over the past six weeks charged with sedition, with one group alleged to have conducted military style training in the hills of Ra province.
The Land Force Commander Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho told Koro Vaka'uta, this has triggered the military involvement.
COLONEL SITIVENI QILIHO: The military and the police have been monitoring the group for a couple of months now and getting information on their activities so we have been working closely in that regard. The talk of military-type training and the possibility of weapons being involved has neccesitated the involvement of the military. One, for the protection of our police officers who are unarmed and secondly our role in the consitution is clearly stipulated. The security and well-being of Fiji and all Fijians is the responsibility of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces. In that regard we are going out there to ensure that environment of security is maintained. That no one gets influenced or gets involved in things that they should not be involved in to destabilise the country.
KORO VAKA'UTA: So this role is more a security-type role over the police or is it more than that? Will you be taking a proactive....
CSQ: Oh yes, definitely we will be more proactive, working closely with the police. Once firearms are involved, if they are really there, that is our major concern. Even if it is only a pistol or even if it is only a rifle. It is very important for us to go out there and retrieve that if it is there. In a small country like Fiji it only takes on of those to make a great impact on the security of Fiji.
KV: So Commander, give us the details of the deployment, we saw the report of 140. Is that the correct number and what kind of personnel are being sent?
CSQ: Those are infantry personnel to assist the police like I said before. In particular, if there is military-type training, you start to a whole load of questions on why is there military-type training being conducted. We are there for a whole lot of these reasons. It would be premature for me to make statements in the role of that group and also in regards to the investigation by the police. They are being produced in court so it would be premature for me to make comments in that regard.
KV: I guess the question is, comments from the Police Commissioner Groenewald earlier said that this group was not a threat to security and that they maybe had replica guns like wooden guns but then this deployment seems to indicate that it's a bit more than that.
CSQ: No, that is what you are alluding to. What the police commissioner said is correct. You also mentioned before, you used the word proactiveness, that is exactly what we are doing. We don't want to wait for weapons to suddenly appear then we are reactive to things. We are being proactive like you mentioned that word at the start of our talk.
KV: But I guess this does indicate that it is a serious matter yes?
CSQ: We take things seriously. You can understand what we've been through in the year 2000 and we don't want such an event to occur again in Fiji. We want Fiji to prosper. We don't want any of those kind of events to happen again. Like our Prime Minister has said, there will be no more coups or no more instability or insurrection. He has mentioned the words that he will crush it and we go by the intentions of our Prime Minister.
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