More than 50 people have been arrested in a Fijian government crackdown on sedition with Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama vowing to crush any attempt at insurrection.
The arrests over the past month follow claims of military-style training in Ra Province linked to attempts to establish a breakaway state on the main island of Viti Levu.
The Fijian Department of Public Prosecutions lists 40 people charged with seditious acts in the past month, with various media reports saying a further 16 to 18 were due in court yesterday.
Bainimarama, who seized power in a 2006 coup, warned he will not tolerate any instability in the Pacific nation.
“We will not and should not tolerate the kind of instability certain people are currently trying to provoke. Put simply, any insurrection will be crushed,” Bainimarama added.
Authorities believe a former British army officer has been secretly running military-style training camps in several villages as part of a plot to form a breakaway Christian state. The veteran has not been identified, but is believed to be a Fijian national who previously served in the British army.
Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald said reports that firearms were involved in the alleged training camps had not been substantiated.
Private ownership of firearms is illegal in the South Pacific nation, which has experienced four coups in the past 28 years.
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
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An Australian graduate student arrested for spying and expelled from North Korea last year said that he was threatened with a firing-squad execution and told not even US President Donald Trump could save his “sorry arse.” Among the crimes Alek Sigley was accused of committing was posting a picture of a toy tank on Instagram, which his interrogators told him was military espionage. Sigley, 30, was studying for a master’s degree in Korean literature at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang when he went missing in June last year, sparking alarm. A fluent speaker of Korean, he had written articles for several publications