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Newspaper Attacks Regime Over 'Hiding The Truth'

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SUVA (Pasifik Nius): A Fiji daily newspaper today attacked a "security scare" over a visit by Commonwealth envoy Justice Pius Langa, accusing the military installed interim regime of trying to hide the truth about the country.

The Fiji Sun yesterday published a front-page report citing a claim by interim Foreign Minister Kaliopate Tavola that a visit by the South African envoy to the northern town of Labasa with deposed Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and aides had sparked a security scare.

But today the newspaper followed up with an editorial condemning the regime over the alleged incident.

"Did Justice Langa's departure to Labasa really spark a security scare?" the Fiji Sun asked.

"Maybe the real thing was that the people who wanted to hide something were scared Langa would discover the naked truth about certain things in Fiji when travelling with People's Coalition government prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry.

"Mr Chaudhry has become a persona non grata with the interim administration and militant and self-seeking political groups."

The newspaper cited a report it carried in today's paper saying that more than 250 displaced Indo-Fijian tenant farmers from indigenous land at Wainikoro appealed to leave Fiji.

"We have suffered enough. We want a decent life, not for ourselves but for our children," Justice Langa was told.

A similar number of farmers at Valelawa internal refugee camp, about 150 km from Wainikoro, expressed similar views.

"There's no news of their joys. Their sufferings have been reported often in the media whenever they become the victims of burning, looting, raids, robbery with violence, rape and other atrocities," said the Fiji Sun.

"Many of these farmers have spelt out a serious and sad indictment of our country.

"They have indicated that this country is incapable of taking proper care of a big section of its population."

The newspaper praised the envoy for going to the northern island of Vanua Levu to listen to the farmers.

"In fact, Pius Langa is only listening to the truth," the Fiji Sun said.

"Now the interim administration must explain to him why this section of Fiji society wants to leave. Why they are still afraid. Why nothing has been done to address their problems.

"The rest of Fiji should also listen to this truth and find solutions.

"Justice Pius Langa is a professional. He was sent to do a job to ensure that peace and justice is returned as a whole to Fiji."

* Fiji is in the grip of an ongoing political crisis following last year's May 19 coup by businessman George Speight who seized Chaudhry and his elected government, holding them hostage for 56 days. Speight and 12 of his supporters now face treason charges.


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