Son of Fiji strongman Bainimarama arrested

Last updated 13:00 07/07/2014
Meli Bainimarama during his father Voreqe Bainimarama's 2006 coup.
Hosanna Kabakoro
Journalist Hosanna Kabakoro, a former beauty queen.

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The son of Fiji's military strongman has been held in police custody over the weekend after being arrested for allegedly assaulting his new beauty queen wife.

As a soldier Meli Bainimarama helped his father Voreqe Bainimarama overthrow democratic government in 2006, but since then he has got off-side with his father.

In January he eloped with Miss Idaho Tean USA and now journalist Hosanna Kabakoro, 21, and they married against family wishes.

On Saturday police sources said Kabakoro fled to the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre and was later taken to hospital. The centre says she is now at a "secret and safe location".

Meli Bainimarama was shortly after arrested and charged with four counts of domestic violence.

He counter-claimed against this, alleging that she had assaulted him.

Fijilive news website said both appeared before Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili this morning who bailed both of them on F$3000 (NZ$1899) bail with strict reporting clauses.

They will next appear to make pleas on August 11.

The Fiji Times reported that lawyers acting for Kabakoro said she suffered lacerations to her hands and bruises on her body.

When Bainimarama seized power in a military coup in December 2006, Meli was among the dozens of soldiers on the streets. He was on the front line trying to seize deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.

Whether dad trusted him is open to question; he was given an M16 automatic - but without any bullets or magazines. The commodore's suspicions about his own soldiers had good grounds; in 2000 they tried to kill him.

In 2011 Meli set up Fijian Solutions Group International - one of the many mercenary companies involved in finding security work for ex- soldiers.

His wedding this year was exactly 12 years after Voreqe Bainimarama gave his daughter Ateca away in marriage. 

At the reception at the Suva Yacht Club a guest, John Whippy, was said to have been drunk and insulting.

Bainimarama's brother-in-law, navy Commander Francis Kean, beat and punched him, killing him.

Initially charged with murder, it was dropped to manslaughter and Kean kept his rank and full military pay.

He eventually got 18 months jail but served less than a month

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He is now head of Public Works and Bainimarama recently gave him a civil medal for services.

- Stuff

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