Police has stepped up security around the Prime Minister and his top officials amid allegations of threats from the army.
The army has, however, denied any involvement in telephone threats received by the Attorney General Qoriniasi Bale, CEO in the PM’s office Joji Kotobalavu, the Home Affairs Minister and his CEO on Monday night.
The latest incident has further estranged relations between the army and the SDL government. Hostilities flared up two weeks ago when the Army voiced its strong opposition to the government’s proposed amnesty Bill intended to facilitate the release/ pardon of perpetrators of the 2000 coup.
The army’s insistence that all those involved in the political mayhem of 2000 and the army mutiny that followed, be brought to justice, has been a source of continuing friction between the two for well over a year.
Last week senior army officials filed into the public gallery in Parliament to witness the tabling of the controversial Bill, in an unmistakenly strongly statement of opposition to the proposed legislation.
On Friday, an obviously angry army chief Frank Bainimarama told the media that the army had been snubbed by the PM when he abruptly left a welcome ceremony for returned soldiers before the traditional Fijian ceremonies.
Blubbering attempts by the PM’s CEO over the week-end to explain away the event, made matters worse.
The CEO, the AG and the two other Government officials claim that they received threatening calls on Monday evening from persons claiming to be from the army and that army vehicles were seen in the vicinity of their homes soon after.
The army has arrogantly denied the allegations and have called on the officials to provide registration numbers of the vehicles.
Police are investigating but the heightened tension adds to the climate of instability created by the introduction of the Bill which has attracted widespread condemnation from the public.
Meanwhile, the Women’s Rights group is seeking a permit to stage a protest march through Suva of 5000 women, against the Bill. The application is still being considered.