back to news archives for 18-31 August, 2000
FijiLive -- Saturday, August 19, 2000
Rabuka says army elite released guns

FORMER Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has accused some senior army officers of being
involved in the May 19 coup.
In a Radio Australia interview, Mr Rabuka said this group of officers, which he did not name,
ordered the release of arms to George Speight's security advisor Ilisoni Ligairi.
The arms were released from the First Meridian Squadron or the 1MS (formerly the Counter
Revolutionary Warfare -CRW) unit armoury.
The arms, he said, were used by the 1MS group that entered Parliament on the morning of May
He has called for an investigation on the matter.
Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini said that the news was a surprise to
"We were not involved in the coup and no order was given for the release of weapons from the
CRW armoury," Lt Col Tarakinikini said.
He said the military was open to scrutiny.
"We have a duty to the nation and that's what we're doing at the moment," he said.
He said such allegations should be substantiated as it was "really damaging to the army".
"All through the political crisis the soldiers had been working for 24 hours in providing security
for the nation."
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister's Office Adi Finau Tabakaucoro has also rubbished Mr
Rabuka's claim.
"It now seems Mr Rabuka is turning against the army for the excellent job they're doing," she
"His statement would damage the good reputation of the army and the confidence of the public in them would be affected."
She questioned why Mr Rabuka was "speaking out this time after all that the army has done in restoring normality".
"What good will Rabuka's claim bring to the country?"
Adi Tabakaucoro asked.
She said it seemed the claim was targeted at ruining the good reputation of the army.
The revelation by Mr Rabuka had strengthened claims from certain section of the community that the army was involved in the coup.
In a Sydney Morning Herald article earlier this month, Lt Col Tarakinikini's was named as one of those being investigated for the coup.
He has since denied his involvement.
Fiji's Daily Post


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