World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Four Women Hostages Released

Four Women Hostages Released

USP Journalism online (new UTS host): http://www.journalism.uts.edu.au/ USP Journalism ("mirror" of gagged site): http://www.sidsnet.org/pacific/usp/journ/
Wansolwara Online: http://www.lookinglassdesign.com/wansolwara/wansol.html Have your say: http://www.TheGuestBook.com/vgbook/109497.gbook

SUVA: The four women members of Mahendra Chaudhry's elected government held hostage in Fiji's Parliament for the past five weeks have been released, according to media reports early today.

A Fiji Live report said the four were former Minister for Tourism Adi Koila Mara Nailatikau, Lavenia Padarath (Minister for Women), Marieta Rigamoto (Assistant Minister for Agriculture) and backbencher Akanisi Koroitamana.

Adi Koila is also daughter of the ousted President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, and is married to a former military commander, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.

The women were released just after midnight.

Still held hostage are 27 more members of the Chaudhry government.

Rebel leader George Speight's media spokesperson Jo Nata told Radio Fiji that releasing the women captives proved that they were not using the hostages as a bargaining tool.

A hostage trauma centre has been set up in the capital of Suva in Gorrie Street, between the Red Cross and Suva Motor Inn. It is expected all hostages when released will be taken there.

Ms Padarath attended a church service this morning at Butt Street church.

The Sunday Post reported that the military council, under the leadership of Commodore Frank Bainimarama, will hold continue to hold executive power for three more months, according to the Muanikau Accord which is now expected to be signed later today.

But the Sunday Times reported that rebel gunmen chief Ilisoni Ligairi said the hostages would only be released when a Fijian administration was set up to govern the country.

Rebel leader George Speight's group had earlier said the hostages would only be released after a traditional ceremony seeking forgiveness from the hostages.

This could take up to 24 hours after the accord is signed.

Veteran soldier Ligairi - known in military circles here as the "invisible man" and "Mr White" because of his hair - is the rebel believed to be partly responsible for the delay in the signing of the accord yesterday.

He told the Sunday Times the freeing of the hostages would be the last step in a sequence of events to follow the signing.

First, he said, the rebels wanted to see a President sworn in to appoint a Fijian administration.

When other issues, such as amnesty and the return of arms to the military barracks in suburban Nabua were sorted out, Ligairi would then talk to the hostages to "mend the relationship" between the rebels and the captives.

Speight's supporters would also be told of the decision.

This process, said the former member of Britain's elite Special Air Service regiment, could take a day or two.

"I would probably call it the Fijian way of doing things," Ligairi told the Sunday Times.

"We are hostage takers and the last thing to be done is the release of the hostages. This will only happen after our demands are met."

During the three months that the military council will stay in control, a Great Council of Chiefs meeting will be convened to appoint a President, according to the Sunday Post.

The President, in consultation with the military council, will then appoint an interim administration to run the affairs of state for the next 21 months.

+++niuswire

This document is for educational and research use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source before reprinting. PASIFIK NIUS service is provided by the niusedita via the Journalism Program, University of the South Pacific. Please acknowledge Pasifik Nius: niusedita@pactok.net.au http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/nius/index.html


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

The Gili Islands: A Community Earthquake Recovery Effort

Joseph Cederwall travelled to the Gili Islands in October 2018 to talk to locals about their experiences of the event and witness the impact and the rebuild efforts on this unique ecotourism destination. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Ongoing Carnage In Gaza

The past month has devoted a lot of space to the best music and films of 2018, and far less to the past year’s human rights violations. The under-reporting on the ongoing carnage in Gaza has been a case in point. More>>

ALSO:

New Report: Refugees In PNG Being Pushed To The Brink
Refugee Council of Australia and Amnesty International paint a stark picture of a traumatised refugee population hit hard by Australia's recent healthcare and counselling service cuts, as well as continued threats to their safety. More>>

ALSO:

Deal On Paris Implementation: Rapid Action Urged At Climate Change Conference

Following a year of devastating climate disasters around the globe, from California to Kerala, and Tonga to Japan, the annual UN Climate Change Conference opens with the goal of finalising the implementation guidelines for the Paris Climate Change Agreement. More>>

ALSO: