Fiji's runaway colonel to seek shelter in New Zealand: report

17:30, May 26, 2011      

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Fiji's runaway colonel has said he is going to make an application to move to New Zealand, Radio Tarana reported on Thursday.

Colonel Tevita Mara warned that Fiji's Voreqe Bainimarama government might act against New Zealand if he is allowed here, the New Zealand Stuff news website reported.

Last week Mara, who used to command Fiji's biggest regiment, fled to neighboring Tonga rather than face charges that he was plotting to overthrow Bainimarama.

As a relative of the Tongan royal family he is under the protection of King George Tupou.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key suggested last weekend that Mara might be welcome into New Zealand.

Speaking to Auckland's Radio Tarana, Mara said he was going to make a formal application and was already in informal discussions.

"New Zealand is in a difficult position, clearly they want to see democracy restored as soon as possible," he said.

On Wednesday, Bainimarama warned John Key to butt out of Fijian affairs.

"It would be a matter of concern for everyone if John Key allowed (Mara) into New Zealand," he said.

He said such a decision would mean Key was reneging on his earlier intention to review the relationship between Wellington and Suva.

Bainimarama said a Key decision to let Mara in would be "most unfortunate".

Source: Xinhua
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