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FIJI: Koroi's views on real reasons for coup

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SUVA: Fiji faces many unanswered questions about the attempted coup and the aftermath of last week's arrest of rebel leader George Speight and more than 380 of his followers, says Daily Post editor Mesake Koroi.

Writing in his popular weekly "Politics Today" column, Koroi says the 71 days of "groping around in the political wilderness" are now history and perhaps a "Nukulau Accord" will be needed to end the rebels' detention.

"Since their arrest many questions still need to be answered. Are they political prisoners?" Koroi wrote.

"For how long can the military and the police keep them in detention before being brought to answer charges? Obviously, the military believe George and his cronies are a threat to national security.

"Perhaps that is why they [Speight, seven of his ringleaders and 12 soldiers from the First Meridian Squadron, formerly the Counter-Revolutionary Warfare Unit] are being detained at Nukulau [island, 15km off Suva Point].

"By the way, did you know that during the 12 months of the Chaudhry government, the National Security Council chaired by Dr Tupeni Baba did not meet once.

"They were so sure of themselves that the Taukei uprising leading up to the coup was no threat to government. Just how wrong can you be?

"Anyway, I suppose [the rebels] are now having a taste of their own medicine.

"How bitter or sweet the pill is, only they could tell. It's more like a case of 'from riches to rags'.

"The once hostage takers are now hostages. George, in his heyday during the parliamentary siege, used to wield tonnes of power.

"Whether he was aware of it or not, his name [brought] terror to the innocent," Koroi wrote.

"Mr Guru Daucina told me of an incident whereby a group of young men walked into a shop at Laqere and loaded a three-tonne truck full of goods - all in the name of George.

"They did not pay for it, of course. In another incident, a group of young men assaulted a man in Suva. They only stopped when one of those witnessing the assault told them that George would not allow such behaviour.

"Whether for good or for worse, such was the power George's name wielded.

"Whatever the situation is, George and his group need to be treated well and accorded every facility to ensure they have a fair trial.

"From all reports received so far they are being well looked after at Nukulau. While George is fishing out there at Nukulau, it is interesting to find out what really is the cause of the May 19 civilian coup.

"According to George, he kidnapped Mahendra Chaudhry's government in the 'name of the indigenous people of Fiji'. He did it to enhance Fijian interests.

But in all his days in the parliamentary siege, George never once spelt out in detail what he meant by Fijian interests.

"Was he talking about his own interests, or was the power play a guise for other interests?

"As the days of political wrangling dragged on, it became clear that there are bigger forces behind the May 19 coup.

"George, [Ratu Timoci] Silatolu and [Ilisoni] Ligairi are mere puppets in the whole saga. Those pulling the strings operate by remote control from around the globe.

"While we in Fiji were busy trying to arrest the political mess George had created, these hungry sharks were busy working out various schemes so they could lay their hands on our valuable natural resources."

Koroi dovoted the next part of his column to examining the controversial mahogany timber deal and Speight's alleged role and how the Chaudhry government stopped this, concluding:

"Now are there more skeletons still in the closet? Only time will tell."

+++niuswire

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