INDEPENDENT NEWS

Military Chief Briefs Ministers On Mutiny

Published: Fri 3 Nov 2000 02:16 PM
USP Pacific Journalism Online: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/
USP Pasifik Nius: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/nius/index.html
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Military Chief Briefs Ministers On Mutiny
* See earlier reports online: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/docs/news/nius3078shoot.html
By Losana McGowan USP's Pacific Journalism Online
SUVA: Fiji's military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, today held an urgent meeting with the interim administration, according to local radio reports.
Radio FM96 quoted military spokesperson Major Howard Politini as saying Commodore Bainimarama briefed the interim ministers on the crisis since rebel forces mutinied yesterday, leaving eight soldiers dead.
Five rebels and three loyalist soldiers died in the shootout as the military fought to regain control of the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Suva.
The radio said the media would be briefed about the meeting this afternoon.
The search continues for 16 armed rebels who escaped from Queen Elizabeth Barracks last night.
Major Politini said the rebels were not dressed in full army uniform - some were clad in military trousers and in t-shirts. They were reportedly seen in the Lami and Nasinu areas on the outskirts of Suva.
Radio Fiji reported that the official toll remained at eight dead and 28 wounded - 14 loyalists, seven rebels and seven civilians injured from stray bullets.
Meanwhile, the regional University of the South Pacific was closed today due to the curfew that was imposed by the military last night and has been extended to 6am tomorrow.
While many students seized the opportunity to catch up on their studies and prepare for the final examinations just one week away, some could not resist the sunshine played touch rugby or told stories under the trees.
At about 9pm last night, many students were sitting outside their domitories watching the different colours from flares at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks flashing through the sky along with gunshots.
Many were dumbfounded to even utter a single word but the chaos did not deter the mood of a group of Fijian and Tongan students who were having a kava session.
+++niuswire

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