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NEWSFLASH: Fiji Crisis Day 13 Update

Overnight discussions between the gunmen holding hostages in the Fijian Parliament and the Interim Military Government have continued and there is optimism that the hostages may finally be released today, day 13 of the crisis.

The interim military government has appointed a former army chief and diplomat, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau,, as the new Prime Minister in the military government and have reportedly negotiated with the gunmen on the make-up of a new cabinet.

The appointee’s wife, Chaudhry government Tourism Minister, Adi Koila Mara Nailatikau, is one of the hostages and is the daughter of former President Ratu Mara.

George Speight is reported to have forsaken his earlier demand to be appointed Prime Minister and the main point of negotiations overnight was reported to be the issue of amnesty for the rebels.

The former President Ratu Mara had already assured George Speight and six of his colleagues an amnesty but the rebels have been pushing for an amnesty for all those involved in the coup.

Asked by the BBC what the amnesty would mean army chief Frank Bainimarama, who is expected to be appointed President shortly, said “amnesty means amnesty”.

Reports indicate that four of the rebels arrested Monday night were also released overnight.

This morning one of the hostages was released to attend the funeral of her sister.

All the demands of the coup leaders - revocation of the constitution, an amnesty for the coup leaders and the dismissal of the President Ratu Mara – have now been met.

Scoop will continue to provide updates as more news comes to hand.

(continuing...)

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