NEWS

RFMF Joins Arms Hunt

A company of 140 military personnel has been deployed to the West as more claims emerge about firearms and rebel training  The Republic of Fiji Military Forces troops will help
20 Aug 2015 15:45
RFMF Joins Arms Hunt

A company of 140 military personnel has been deployed to the West as more claims emerge about firearms and rebel training  The Republic of Fiji Military Forces troops will help Police in their investigations, says Land Force Commander Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho.

It is understood that alleged rebels had already been under military surveillance as a back-up to Police investigations.

Two undercover operatives, posing as agricultural officers observed military style training from a distance to avoid detection in the Ra hills. They saw what they thought were replicas of real guns.

Their report gave rise to a theory that the real guns could be on their way there in a yacht via the Vatu-i-Ra Passage in the Bligh Waters. The passage is the access route from the open sea to the Ra coast.

The only snag in this theory was that an arms consignment big enough to take on the Fijian military would need a container.

Subsequent investigations led to a mobile phone confiscated that showed a photo of an Israeli Uzi allegedly shipped to Fiji via New Zealand. It is thought that New Zealand might only be the transit point and any consignment would originate from somewhere else.

This lead led to possibilities of foreign involvement in the funding and organisation of an alleged plot to destabilise the Bainimarama Government. The illegal set-up of the so-called Christian Sovereign States in Ra, Nadroga and Navosa was allegedly part of the plan.

Investigators are also working on a lead that local anti-Government forces have been working behind the scenes to canvas for support for the rebel movement. Villagers and the unemployed were being targeted in the recruitment drive. SODELPA supporters overseas have openly expressed their support for the rebels. A regular anti-Government blogger in the US, Loruama Tawili claimed SODELPA would be in Lautoka to support the iTaukei from Ra and Nadroga. But there is silence from SODELPA headquarters about allegations some in the party could be supporting the rebels. Their junior Opposition partner, the National Federation Party, is silent too.

There is unofficial talk among SODELPA ranks about a document that was shown only to a select few regarding the so-called breakaway states.

Colonel Qiliho said: “The claim on the use of firearms is a real concern to us so we’re stepping in to help the Police,” he said.

He said this was part of their constitutional role.

Section 131 (2) of the Constitution clearly stipulates – “ It shall be the overall responsibility of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces to ensure at all times the security, defence and well-being of Fiji and all Fijians.”

Colonel Qiliho said the police investigation was at a very critical stage.

“We are helping to find out if firearms are involved.”

He said they had been working with the Police in the last few months.

He gave his assurance that if firearms were used they would find them.

He reiterated the security assurance given by the Fiji Police Force.

Colonel Qiliho said a joint statement by the RFMF Commander and the Commissioner of Police would be made. He stressed that they would concentrate on the search for firearms and were helping Police.

They had also stepped in to provide protection for the police in carrying out their investigation.

He said they were carrying out a very serious investigation and it was only proper for them to provide protection.

Colonel Qiliho said they would also collect more information from the public in regards to the rebel group and share it with the police.

Feedback: maikab@fijisun.com.fj

 

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