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FIJI: Shootout wounded rises to five

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By Evan Wasuka USP's Pacific Journalism Online

SUVA: Five soldiers were wounded as shooting continued today at the Fiji military headquarters at Queen Elizabeth Barracks on the outskirts of the capital of Suva.

The five casualties included one rebel officer of the now disbanded Counter Revolutionary Warfare unit and four Fiji Military Forces officers.

Local radio station FM 96 reported that members of the CRW have taken over the 3rd Fiji Infantry Regiment armoury, the largest in the barracks.

According to the radio report, the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, had escaped from the military barracks unhurt.

He was seen by local residents emerging from the bush with personal bodyguards. He was rushed into a four-wheel-drive vehicle and driven to safety.

The Interim Home Affairs Minister, Ratu Talemo Ratakele, has called on Fiji Islanders to remain calm and stay indoors.

The Ministry of Education closed all schools in the Suva area and asked teachers to release students to their parents.

The University of the South Pacific closed classes at its Laucala campus.

As news of the shooting spread in Suva city, shop owners were taking precaution and closing up their stores.


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