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FIJI: Troops shoot rebel dead

FIJI: Troops shoot rebel dead

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SUVA: Fiji soldiers shot and killed a rebel gunman and 20 people were wounded in a shootout as the military took control of the troubled Dreketi rice-producing area in Vanua Levu yesterday, media reports said.

Military spokesman Major Howard Politini last night confirmed the rebel died of gunshot wounds after the clash with the army's Force Reserves Unit, which had arrived from Suva yesterday morning.

According to the Fiji Sun, Politini said the rebel had shot at troops who had retaliated.

The Daily Post said 32 rebels had been arrested.

"The defence forces confronted rebels who tried to resist arrest. However, the forces won the skirmish and overpowered them.," Major Politini said.

He said the military had tightened the cordon on the northern capital of Labasa as the situation escalated.

Meanwhile, the rebels who have been holding Monasavu hydro-electric dam in the rugged interior of Viti Levu island for three weeks are expected to hand the area back to the government and the Fiji Electricity Authority today.

The dam normally supplies 80 per cent of electricity for the country, but Suva industry has been crippled with long power blackouts as a result of rationing.

The FEA has been using overloaded diesel generators to supply power.


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