Last updated 14:51 20/07/2011
Fiji's powerful military force would never open fire on the nation's people, runaway colonel Tevita Mara believes.
A one-time infantry commander who supported military strongman Voreqe Bainimarama in his 2006 coup, Mara is wanted in Suva on sedition and conspiracy to mutiny charges.
In May he fled to Tonga and while still on New Zealand's banned persons list, he has been allowed into the country for five days.
Tomorrow he plans to brief Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials.
In a brief comment to local Indian Radio Tarana on Mara's arrival here, Bainimarama described him and his pro-democracy supporters as "just a bunch of losers, you should not be worried about them."
Mara and another former Fiji colonel, Jone Baledrokadroka, are trying to build a Fiji democracy movement outside the country but Mara accepted that there was no sign of a popular uprising in Fiji itself.
"The last thing we want to see is a confrontation between the people and the authorities in Fiji," he said.
People died in coup bloodshed in 1987 and in 2000 and Mara said they did not want a repeat.
Change to Fiji would come from international pressure.
Mara said Fiji soldiers would never fire on civilians.
"There is a definite split in the military. Bainimarama has only a small group around him," he said, adding he believed it was only about 50 soldiers and officers
"There is a certain group that is around him all the time. That is the group he uses to bring terror on the people... The oppression he is doing on the people of Fiji he is also doing on the military."
Mara admitted that Bainimarama previously enjoyed support from particularly expatriate Indo-Fijians in New Zealand and Australia.
His regime was anti-Fijians.
"Most of the things he is doing are against the Fiji race."
The new group here, Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement appears to be dominated by indigenous Fijians, while the Auckland based Coalition for Democracy in Fiji is mainly Indo-Fijian.
A spokesman for the latter group, Nik Naidu, said they had laid a complaint with police calling for the arrest of Mara in New Zealand over allegations that he had been involved in torture in the 2000 coup and following the 2006 coup.
Police acknowledged receiving the complaint and said they were evaluating information on it.
Mara said he was surprised by Naidu's actions and denied he had any involvement in torture.
He said the main torture allegations focused around 2000 and allege a direct hand in it by Bainimarama.
"That is something Bainimarama has to answer for, it was something the police were questioning him for, before the events of 2006," Mara said.
He denied he and Baledrokadroka were simply plotting another coup but said it was time to look at the role of the military in Fiji.
"It has a usefulness, it's just the way it has been used by politicians, and by those in command when coups have taken place."