Fiji Military Mum About Contents Of Shipping Containers

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Shipment reportedly guns, ammunition from Russia

By Nasik Swamiy

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 15, 2016) – So, what were in those containers sent to the Republic of Fiji Military Forces?

The containers arrived on St Confidence which berthed at Suva's Kings Wharf yesterday morning and were escorted under heavy security to the Queen Elizabeth Barracks at Delainabua.

Most government officials refrained from commenting, while the Opposition claimed they contained guns and ammunition.

Acting Police Commissioner, Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho did not confirm the contents of the containers, but said police were involved in the planning and the whole process of the consignment.

When questioned whether the consignment included guns and ammunitions, Brig-Gen Qiliho said, "if there are weapons coming into the country, it's definitely for the military".

He added, "They (military) are the only institution that is armed with weapons and ammunitions."

Any importation of guns and ammunitions into the country will need to have a licence issued by the Commissioner of Police.

[PIR editor’s note: On Jan. 14, 2016 RNZI reported that ‘The Fiji opposition says unauthorised military equipment from Russia has been sent to Suva harbour and will be transported directly to the local barracks. ... Its spokesperson on foreign affairs, Ratu Isoa Tikoca, says the police have been barred from offloading the containers by the private security firm, Home Link Security Services Limited. ... He says the security firm is owned by members of the military, and is usurping the power of the police. ... Ratu Isoa says the goods include 20 containers of arms, trucks and a helicopter. ... He says the transaction is illegal as it did not go through parliament for approval. ... But the acting police commissioner Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho says he is well aware of the arrival of the containers, and there is nothing illegal about it.’]

Defence Minister Timoci Natuva said he had directed the Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Viliame Naupoto to brief the media about the consignments.

However, several calls made to Mr Naupoto's mobile phone last night, including two visits to his Ratu Sukuna Rd residence and to the Fiji Golf Club in Vatuwaqa, to get a comment remained unsuccessful.

It is believed the consignment is assistance from Russia to the RFMF.

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