Fiji Military Announce Exclusion Zone
Detail of the Military Exclusion Zone (MEZ) from website fijilive.com
The Fiji military command is upping the pressure on George Speight, declaring a military exclusion zone immediately around the Parliamentary complex.
This afternoon army Commander and Head of State, Commodore Frank Bainimarama declared the exclusion zone which covered the complex and the adjacent roads around it.
Civilians supporters of George Speight and residents who live in the area have been given 48 hours from midnight tonight to move out.
The exclusion zone is the first indication the army is getting tough with coup leader George Speight and his supporters, who have earlier been free to move in and out of the Parliamentary complex.
However, Mr. Tarakinikini said the zone, which gives the military wide ranging powers to control the complex, should not be construed as a step towards a military solution to the crisis.
The zone was primarily to “contain security sensitive areas” and enhance the safety and security of the public, he said.
Mr. Tarakinikini emphasised the military would continue the non-confrontational approach in dealing with the rebels.
Power and water supplies were unlikely to be cut off and food would still be delivered to the complex, he said.
The move comes after four people were injured yesterday in a gun battle between George Speight supporters and the military.
The Fiji news site, www.fijilive.com, reports that two of the men, both Speight supporters, are critically ill in a Suva hospital.
It also includes detail of the exclusion zone. The site says the military are now able
temporarily acquire any land or building.
* to prohibit entry of vehicles, aircraft or vessels into the MEZ.
* to restrict water, electricity, telecommunication or any other essential services.
* to arrest and detain persons loitering in the MEZ, and
* to do any other thing necessary for the purpose of the Decree.
Twenty-seven hostages are still being held inside the complex, including the former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry. The crisis is now in its seventh week.