LAND ownership grievances had increased recently to become a widespread problem, according to Army Commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.
He made the comment while addressing a group of Yalobi villagers on the island of Waya in the Yasawa Group.
The villagers were concerned that a neighbouring beachfront property had been sold without their consent. Commodore Bainimarama advised the villagers to approach the proper authorities.
He said there had been numerous requests for government intervention in land disputes during his visits around the country.
Prior to the Yalobi Village visit, villagers of Namara in neighbouring Wayasewa had also sought help in resolving the Vomo Island ownership dispute.
"People need to follow the right channels; there are no short-cuts," he said.
Commodore Bainimarama said a lot of the bureaucracy had been smoothed out, making it easier for every individual or community to air grievances.
The villagers had told Commodore Bainimarama that a search of records revealed the land had been sold by individuals who were not members of their landowning unit. They claimed that one of the signatories to sales and purchase papers was a man who was from Nadi. They said traditional requests for return of the parcel of land had been turned down.