Colonel Roko Ului Mara now a Tongan citizen

The runaway former Fijian Army Commander Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara who was ‘rescued’ by Tongan Navy and caused tension between the two countries is now a Tongan citizen.

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara also known as Roko Ului who is now a Tongan Citizen seen here with his cousin the Prince Tu'ipelehake at the 'Fatai' Residence.

The Communication Advisor for the Prime Minister, Mr. ‘Ahongalu Fusimalohi confirmed this morning that Mara was granted a Tongan passport last week.

He flew out to Australia yesterday according to the Lord Privy Seal Va’inga Tōnē, “for a family affair”.

But according to Radio Australia Report he is expected to address the Fiji Democracy Movement in the capital, Canberra, on Saturday.

They also report that Mara is expected to meet representatives of the Australian Government as he begins an international campaign against the military regime in Fiji.

The Interim Prime Minister of Fiji’s Military Government Commodore Bainimarama has branded Mara a ‘fugitive’ and called on Tonga to return him to Fiji.

Prince Tu'ipelehake with wife Fifita Hōleva Tu'ipelehake and Fijians in Tonga who reside at Pelehake but are from Vitilevu. They brought 'ha'unga' to the Tu'ipelehake's resident as a formal welcome to Roko Ului and inviting him to joint them at Pelehake. (Photos Melemanu Fiu)

Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakanō has stated that the Tongan government will have no interference with any attempts to extradite Mara to Fiji.

“There shall be no obstacle placed before the Fijian Government’s Representatives in Court nor should the accused be denied counsel and the right to reply.”

The Tongan government received an application for the extradition of Mara from the Fijian Government two weeks ago, and Government said “it will have to go through the proper channels for legal advice before we can proceed any further.”

Mara has been charged in Fiji with one count of uttering seditious comment and one count of inciting to mutiny.

- By Telesia Adams