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Chief’s reject rebels cause

Saturday 15 August 2015 | Published in Regional


Bainimarama says so-called rebel military units pose no threat.

TAVUA – Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama wants to know who is responsible for co-ordinating a so-called Christian rebel group in the hill country of the Western Division.

Bainimarama has been briefed on the situation and expressed full confidence in the police and military units tasked to bring it under control, the government-aligned Fiji Sun newspaper reports.

“I have been updated, it’s a non-issue, the police and the military have it all wrapped up, but we need to nip these kinds of things in the bud. We are interested to find out who is behind this,” he said.

Bainimarama has called on the people of Fiji to not be easily swayed by a few individuals who want to create instability in the country.

While speaking at an event in Tavua, Bainimarama said people should not follow instructions from leaders that could land them in jail.

“We should not tolerate any form of instability and we should not be swayed by those who wish to divide us,” he said.

Police Chief of Intelligence and Investigations ACP Henry Brown and Police Deputy Commissioner Isikeli Vuniwaqa are currently in Ra Division to talk to the people there not to be swayed by the rebels.

The Minister for Defence and National Security, Timoci Natuva, said he is confident police are maintaining peace and stability in the Western Division

“The police are containing the individuals who are part of that plot, so there really is no threat to anyone at the moment. Nobody should be panicking about anything,” he said.

“We leave it to the police. They are the ones doing the monitoring and all the issues regarding those allegations, if there is any news, the first person they would brief is me and at the moment the police are handling the situation very, very well.”

Natuva said he agreed with the statement released by Commissioner of Police Ben Groenewald that there was no security threat and people should not live fearfully.

Meanwhile, several prominent chiefs have come out in support of the Bainimarama-led government, according to the Fiji Sun. They have criticised any move to destabilise the government through separatist movements, the Sun said.

The Fiji Sun said it spoke to Bau chief Ratu George Cakobau, Rewa chief Ro Epeli Maitaitini, Turaga Na Ka Levu, Ratu Kinijoji Vosailagi and Turaga na Tui Wainunu Ratu Orisi Baleitavea.

Ratu George queried the motives behind this group.

“We’re now governed by the government that cared for the people and protected the interests of the leave inTaukei people,” he said.

“Why should they want to form another government?”

According to Ratu George, past governments had put little protection in place for the iTaukei people: “Now the iTaukei people are well protected in the constitution, and likewise, other ethnic groups.”

Ro Epeli said the rebels should be taken to task, as their actions were uncalled for.

He said the iTaukei people were united and such an unChristian move would not be entertained.

Ro Epeli thanked the Fiji Police Force for their quick response in arresting the rebel group. He said convicted rebels should face the full brunt of the law.

Ratu Tevita Makutu, the spokesman for the Turaga Na Ka Levu, said he supported the Bainimarama government because it was delivering on its promises.

He said any move to form a so-called Christian State within the province of Nadroga and Navosa would not be entertained.

Ratu Orisi said members of the group needed counselling for their illegal acts.

He said a government that championed equality for all, transparency and good governance now led Fiji, the Sun reports.

Ratu Orisi said the Christian State and the rebel group had no place in the new Fiji.

Nadroga-Navosa chief, Turaga Na Ka Levu, Ratu Kinijoji Vosailagi has called for a Christian State flag to be removed from the home of the late Ratu Osea Gavidi in Cuvu, Nadroga.

The controversial flag was hoisted by Ratu Osea before his death.

Ratu Osea was notorious for leading separatist political movements, beginning in the 1980s with the Western United Front (WUF), the Fiji Sun reports.

Ratu Tevita said the flag was clearly visible in the village, and a cause for incitement. He said if it was not removed, they would call the police to take it away.

Fiji’s Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa is concerned with the level of speculation she said is being “promoted” by the media in the case of the alleged rebel group training in a seditious manner in Ra.

Ro Teimumu said the speculations have led the Commissioner of Police Ben Groenewald to make a statement suggesting there was no security threat.

She said the media shouldn’t be “talking about it” because there were no confirmed reports on firearms being found.

“Arrested and detained persons as well as accused persons have rights and every person charged with an offence has the right to be assumed innocent until proven guilty according to law,” she said.

“So let the accused persons be accorded the full benefit of the law as outlined in the Bill of Rights.”

She said speculating about firearms that may relate to 1987 and 2000 and linking this to reports of the current arrests is “irresponsible”.