Exiled Fijian soldier denies plot
Thu, 19 Jul 2012 8:42a.m.
Fijian army fugitive Colonel Tevita Mara is denying allegations of a plot to kill Fiji's leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama, after police and intelligence officers raided several Auckland addresses.
Col Mara says the allegation is completely untrue, because he has never thought about or discussed killing Cdre Bainimarama, Radio New Zealand reports.
Former Fijian cabinet minister Rajesh Singh told media a female SIS officer and three policemen visited his Auckland home and took his cellphone and his daughter's laptop as part of their raids.
Col Mara visited Mr Singh's home two weeks ago during a visit to New Zealand, and is now in Tonga.
The SIS officer told Mr Singh there was "credible evidence" that Cdre Bainimarama's assassination was being planned in Auckland, and asked him why the exiled Fijian army officer had visited him, according to media reports.
Mr Singh said he was friends with Col Mara but he did not know of any assassination plots.
The laptop and cellphone were returned and Mr Singh was told not to talk to media.
Other Fijian nationals were also reportedly visited.
Col Mara escaped Fiji last year on board a Tongan naval boat after being charged with sedition.
Fijian authorities have sent extradition papers to each country he has visited, including Australia and New Zealand, but last year received no response, while a request to Tonga was rejected.
Col Mara has claimed that planned Fijian elections for 2014 will not go ahead, but Cdre Bainimarama dismissed Col Mara as "a little kid who doesn't know what's happening".
Cdre Bainimarama gained power in a coup in 2006.
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