28 Nov 2006

Fiji court told soldiers wanted to kill Rabuka during 2000 mutiny

2:00 pm on 28 November 2006

The Suva High Court has heard that loyal soldiers wanted to shoot to kill the former Fiji prime minister and 1987 coup leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, during the November 2000 army mutiny.

But the main witness in Mr Rabuka's trial on two charges of inciting mutiny said he cautioned one of his soldiers putting down the mutiny to follow the proper rules of engagement.

The Fijilive news website quotes Lt Col Viliame Seruvakula as saying that tension was high at the height of the mutiny when one of the soldiers said: Shoot to kill. Shoot to kill Rabuka.

Lt Col Seruvakula said Mr Rabuka had called him on his cell phone on the day of the mutiny on November 2nd 2000 and said to him to stop the attack on the mutineers.

But he replied that it was too late because they had crossed the line and the shooting had started.

Lt Col Seruvakula said Mr Rabuka called him again that day talking about changing the leadership of the military.

Mr Rabuka has pleaded not guilty to two charges of inciting mutiny in July and November 2000 with the aim of overthrowing the commander, Commodore Bainimarama.