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Fiji: Rebels Distance Themselves From Mutineers

George Speight’s rebels have distanced themselves from army mutineers currently in control of a military barracks on Fiji’s second main island.

Over 80 soldiers took control of a military barracks near Labasa on the island of Vanua Levu on Tuesday, pledging allegiance to Speight and his supporters.

Four hundred civilian supporters entered the barracks yesterday in a situation onlookers said resembled the crisis at Suva’s parliamentary complex.

The mutineers met with high ranking Fiji army officials for peace talks last night.

Rebel spokesman Ratu Timoci Silatolu said the people took over the Labasa camp had their “own way of doing things.”

He said while the mutiny at Sukanaivalu Barracks showed there was nationwide support for the rebel’s cause, many people were “trying to jump onto {the rebel} band wagon for their personal gain."

Meanwhile, in Suva, the rebels and military have resumed talks on how to resolve the hostage crisis, currently in it’s seventh week.

The military’s choice of an interim government and Tuesday’s armed skirmish between the groups are believed to be the main topics on the agenda.

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