BAINIMARAMA REJECTS CLAIMS OF FIJI PRESIDENT’S

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DISMISSAL
Nailatikau is married to ‘fugitive’ Ratu Tevita’s sister

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 19, 2011) - Fiji's interim prime minister has rejected claims by the international media that President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau will be removed from office.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama has told the Fiji Live website the reports are not true.

He has told the Fiji-based news organization to tell the international media to "not be naughty".

TVNZ has been reporting Ratu Epeli Nailatikau will be removed from office in the next 24 hours.

The president is married to the sister of Lieutenant Colonel Ratu Tevita Mara, who has fled to Tonga because he says he will not receive a fair trial in Fiji on charges of attempted mutiny and sedition.

Meanwhile, Lt Col Mara says he now recants his support of the 2006 coup.

Lt Col Mara is in Tonga under the protection of the Royal household.

He says he does not want to return to Fiji to face the charges, while the Interim Attorney General is interfering with the judiciary.

He has told TVNZ, the 2006 coup was wrong and it is illegal to take over a government no matter how hard one tries to justify it.

TVNZ is reporting Lt Col Mara has expressed concerns for his family still in Fiji.

He claims that his wife and her cousin were interrogated at the Queen Elizabeth barracks by the Fijian military.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister and U.S Secretary of State have discussed the topic of the diplomatic tensions which have developed between Fiji and Tonga following Lt Col Mara's decision to flee to Tonga.

The Fiji Live website reports Murray McCully is on an official visit to US and has given the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, a report on the growing tension between Fiji and Tonga.

Lt Col Mara says he was rescued by the Tongan Navy who responded to a distress signal he issued when he got into trouble while fishing.

TVNZ is reporting that after their discussions, both Mr. McCully and Mrs. Clinton are urging Fiji to return to the polls.

The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation is reporting Fiji's Military Land Force Commander has confirmed police are speaking to the man who went fishing with Lt Col Mara.

Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga has told the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation they are speaking to the person who took Lt Col Mara to Cape Washington in Kadavu.

He says people on board a fishing vessel that saw the Tongan patrol boat are also talking to police.

Col Tikoitoga says he does not believe Lt Col Mara was on a fishing trip when he was dropped off at Cape Washington and the navy picked him up.

Fiji authorities are now seeking to extradite Lt Col Mara from Tonga.

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