A COMPANY of Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) soldiers has joined local police investigations into allegations of militarytype training in a remote mountainous area in Fiji’s Western Division. The investigations follow the appearance in Fiji courts of scores of villagers, including some chiefs, from the provinces of Ra and Nadroga, on charges of sedition and inciting communal violence.
In a nationally televised message, Fiji’s Police Commissioner, Ben Groenewald, assured all Fijians that while arrests had been made and people had been arrested – some for being involved in “training of a seditious nature” – there was no threat to national security and investigations were continuing. Confirming the military/police collaboration in the investigations, the RFMF’s Land Force Commander, Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho, said the RFMF was “concerned” about allegations of the use of “firearms” in military-style training.
“Our core Constitutional role clearly stipulates that we (RFMF) are responsible for the security and well-being of Fiji and all Fijians,” Colonel Qiliho told local media. SEDITION Arrests and denials The exact details of the charge sheet against those who have already appeared in court and remanded in custody have yet to be made public. However, Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama provided some early insight into what the charges relate to when he addressed a meeting in Tavua – the town which borders the province of Ra. With a clear warning that his government will not tolerate “any challenge to authority,”
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