Ousted Fiji PM warned not to return
Coup leader says he will confront with force anyone who tries to resist his plan.
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2006 15:46 GMT

Qarase, the ousted PM, has predicted he will return to power

Fiji’s new military regime has warned the country's former prime minister that he will face arrest if he returns to the capital.

Laisenia Qarase, who insists he remains Fiji's legitimate leader, has said he wants to return to Suva from his home village on an outer island where he was sent on military orders following last week’s coup.
The coup leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has warned he will confront "with force" anyone who resists his plan to remove what he say was a corrupt government.
At the weekend Qarase's secretary said the former prime minister would return because "the people want their leader among them."
Qarase's supporters say he has arranged with parliamentary colleagues and other key figures to discuss what can be done to peacefully restore democracy.
Qarase himself has said he plans to return to his role leading the country, although the military government appears to have other ideas.
At the weekend advertisements to fill vacant jobs in the post-coup cabinet appeared in local newspapers.
"Applicants must be of outstanding character and without any criminal records," one advert noted.
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The coup leader's warning to opponents came as another former Fijian prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, was found not guilty of inciting a failed mutiny in 2000.
Among the military's allegations against Qarase were that he was soft on those behind a May 2000 coup and the failed mutiny against Bainimarama six months later.
At the time Bainimarama narrowly escaped with his life, fleeing the main military barracks by jumping over a fence and into nearby bushes.
The high court in Suva delivered the verdict after a jury failed to agree on whether Rabuka tried to convince a senior officer to join a bid to assassinate Bainimarama six years ago.
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