6 Jun 2002

Fiji rebel soldier tells court martial of planned suicide mission during army mutiny

10:38 am on 6 June 2002

The court martial of 15 Fiji soldiers charged with the November 2000 mutiny has been told one of the rebels planned a suicide mission to kill as many loyalist soldiers as possible before going down in a blaze of gunfire.

The Daily post says this is revealed in a statement from Sergeant Jone Naisara given to police which was read out in the court.

Naisara said he planned the suicide mission as he hid in the bushes some distance from the army camp after his escape when the mutiny was put down.

He later gave himself up after getting in touch with the director of community policing, Ramanu Tikotikoca, and was detained at the Lami police station.

Naisara said he and 20 other members of the rebel Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit were briefed by Captain Shane Stevens on the day of the mutiny that the intended takeover was supported by the public and the paramount chief of Naitasiri, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata.

Naisara said he also overheard a mobile phone conversation by Captain Stevens which implicated the ministers of finance and home affairs, Ratu Jone Kubuabola and Ratu Talemo Ratakele, in the conspiracy.

Stevens had told them the home affairs minister was supporting the mutiny.

Naisara said he also answered a mobile phone call from the former prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, who wanted to speak to a warrant officer with the intention of facilitating negotiations.

The court martial is continuing.