13 May 2005

Five appear in Fiji court for murder and attempted murder during coup

6:46 pm on 13 May 2005

Five people have appeared in the Suva magistrate's court for murder and attempted murder during the May 2000 Fiji coup.

Three former soldiers of the now disbanded Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit which staged the coup have been charged with the murder of police Corporal Filipo Seavula.

They are Beniame Taga, Keni Ragone and Jo Nanawaqa who are currently serving a prison sentence for their role in the coup and the army mutiny which followed.

Also charged with the same murder is another coup convict, Peceli Vuniwa.

They are alleged to have shot Corporal Seavula to death at checkpoint only a few hundred metres from parliament where George Speight and his gunmen were holding members of the Chaudhry government hostage.

Former army engineer Major Josefa Savua, who has already served a sentence for his role in the coup, was also arrested and brought to court and, with Vuniwa, was charged with the attempted murder of another police officer.

This happened when the officer responded to calls for help as Speight's rebels attacked the premises of Fiji Television after it had broadcast a discussion on the coup they did not like.

Major Savua is the brother of Fiji's ambassador to the United Nations and former police commissioner, Col Isikia Savua, who is himself still under active investigation for his role in the coup.

All five will reappear in court on May the 20th.