NAVY CONCERNED FIJI WILL BECOME A HAVEN FOR PEOPLE SMUGGLERS

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (August 30, 2002 – Radio Australia)---The Fiji Navy says it is concerned that Fiji will be become a haven for people smugglers and drug traffickers -- and will be unable to stop their activities.

Fiji Navy Commander Viliame Naupoto says Fiji could be seen as an ideal "transit point" for people smugglers and drug traffickers, because it cannot adequately secure its borders, due to a lack of funding for patrols.

Commander Naupoto says now that Australia and New Zealand have cracked down on illegal immigration, Fiji could be seen as a viable alternative.

"I think Fiji Islands presents itself as a good area, a good spot for that kind of activity in the sense that Fiji is a group of 300 islands and out of 300 islands we have approximately 100 uninhabited ones with good anchorages and therefore good ... points (for illegal people smuggling and drug trafficking)."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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