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FIJI: New intelligence unit planned

NEW INTELLIGENCE UNIT PLANNED

USP Pacific Journalism Online: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/ USP Journalism on the Fiji crisis (UTS host): http://www.journalism.uts.edu.au/ USP Pasifik Nius stories on Scoop (NZ): http://www.scoop.co.nz/international.htm Have your say: http://www.TheGuestBook.com/vgbook/109497.gbook

By Mithleshni Gurdayal


USP Journalism Graduate on the Daily Post

SUVA: A new intelligence unit will soon be established by Fiji's interim administration, says the interim Home Affairs Minister Ratu Talemo Ratakele.

The unit will replace the Fiji Intelligence Service which was abolished by the deposed elected Mahendra Chaudhry government last year.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Post yesterday, Ratu Talemo said the interim administration is looking at reactivating the National Security Council which existed during the rule of the Alliance government [of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara].

According to him, this is to keep up with security matters of the country.

"The National Security Council was in force during the Alliance government but after 1987, when the Fiji Intelligence Service was established, this council lapsed," he said.

"But with the demise of the FIS, we have to reactivate the council," Ratu Talemo said.

"Core functions of the council will be to keep a tab on all matters concerning security and decide what actions to take as far as the security of the nation is concerned and be able to tackle problems before they arise, unlike the May 19 situation."

However, Ratu Talemo pointed out that the May insurrection could have been avoided if the ousted government had heeded police warnings.

"From the information have received, police and military intelligence had warned the [Chaudhry] government that things were building up and my predecessor was pressed to impress on the former prime minister that things should be tackled at that stage," he said.

"I am satisfied that the police in the Special Branch and the Military Intelligence had performed their task of warning the government, that if nothing was done then the problem would escalate to a stage culminating in something like what happened on May 19."

* Police Commissioner Isikia Savua, who has been implicated in the attempted coup, was reported by the Fiji Sun to be officially from today pending an investigation into allegations about his involvement with he rebels.

A tribunal set up by the Public Service Commission, and headed by Chief Justice Sir Timoci Tuivaga, will investigate the allegations.

Criticisms against Savua, a former military officer, have included his alleged failure to deal effectively with the rioting and looting on May 19 and his decision to attend a security conference in Vanuatu, leaving the police without effective leadership during the height of the crisis.

+++niuswire

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