19 May 2011

Fugitive's wife questioned by Fiji military

4:52 pm on 19 May 2011

A Fijian army commander who fled to Tonga after being charged with sedition says his wife has been questioned by the Fiji military.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara says his wife was taken to the Queen Elizabeth barracks and interrogated, along with another woman who is her cousin.

Colonel Mara says his wife has been released but has been told she will be questioned again and is scared.

Colonel Mara says his wife's cousin is still being held at the barracks, which he describes as a torture camp.

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Malielegaoi says the colonel's flight to Tonga is a storm in a teacup.

He says it is clear the colonel went out fishing and got into problems with the current that sucks all debris into the Tonga Trench.

The Prime Minister says a Tonga navy vessel spotted him and rescued him and it is pure coincidence that Colonel Mara is a relation of King George Tupou V.

Mr Tuilaepa says Commodore Bainimarama should be thanking the Tonga government for the rescue or Colonel Mara would be in South America by now.