6 May 2004

Police officers played role in Fiji coup - officials

6:27 am on 6 May 2004

For the first time in Fiji, there's official confirmation that police played a role in the May 2000 coup and the overthrow of the Chaudhry government.

The confirmation has come from the police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, who says a senior superintendent is facing disciplinary action for his role in the transport of weapons from the military armoury to parliament.

Another officer, a sergeant, is facing disciplinary action for releasing 12 rebels who were held in police custody.

Mr Hughes says their names are not being released yet because the disciplinary action is a prelude to possible criminal charges being laid by the director of public prosecutions.

A special police team is investigating 55 coup-related allegations against officers and 75 statements have been taken.

More charges are likely to follow, including those related to the transport of stolen food in police vehicles to feed rebels in parliament.

The file on the alleged involvement in the coup of the former police commissioner, Col Isikia Savua, remains open.

But Mr Hughes says the role of other officers during the crisis was remarkable.

He says they showed bravery of the highest order and deserve recognition and commendation.