Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Chief in trouble over 'blood' statement

www.fijitimes.om - Monday, April 16, 2007

A MEMBER of the Great Council of Chiefs was taken by the military for questioning on Friday, because of references he allegedly made about the President's nominee for the Vice-President's post.

Tailevu chief Ratu Timoci Vesikula allegedly stated at the council meeting last week that Ratu Epeli Nailatikau had blood on his hands for supporting the interim Government, claimed military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni in a statement yesterday.

"This is indeed hypocrisy to say the least, knowing that some members of the GCC supported the 2000 coup where lives were lost," he said. "Ratu Timoci's accusation is definitely a baseless one which the GCC took into consideration prior to making their decision," he said.

He said it was now evident the council's decision was pre-planned by a few members who were allowed to steer the meeting into its final decision which was now irrelevant. "Some members of the Great Council of Chiefs who have embroiled themselves into the legality of the interim Government have now missed the opportunity to act responsibly, which is a role entrusted to them by the people of this nation," said Major Leweni.

Ratu Timoci said the military misinterpreted his comments. He said he was speaking figuratively.

He did not mean that a death was caused by Ratu Epeli's involvement with the interim administration. He stressed he was never part of the 2000 coup.

Fiji Human Rights Commission director Doctor Shaista Shameem said she was not aware of Ratu Timoci's detainment at the army camp in Nabua.

"I believe he had a cordial meeting with the military officers and he has not lodged a complaint with us," she said. Ratu Timoci confirmed after spending one hour at the camp, he reached an understanding on the military's stand.

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