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Tarakinikini, Vatu On House Arrest

Issue No: 183; 7 November 2000

The military has ordered the restriction of movement for Lt. Col Filipo Tarakinikini and Ulaiasi Vatu effective today.

Military's spokesman, Major Howard Politini told the media today that order was made pursuant to s5 of the Emergency Decree 2000. S5 empowers the Police Commissioner or the Commanding Officer to impose conditions on the movement of a person who "has been recently concerned in acts involving or likely to cause or provoke a breach of the peace, or likely to be prejudicial to the success of measures taken to maintain or restore public order, or in the preparation or institution of such acts, or that by reason of his words or conduct he is likely to be concerned in such acts". The restrictions include house arrest. [See Documents - Others for the Emergency Decree].

Tarakinikini told tonight's Fiji TV news that he was very concerned that he was placed under house arrest because there was no evidence to link him to the 2 Nov. attempted coup.

Tarakinikini and Vatu were implicated by the head of the CRW, Captain Shane Stevens who is now recovering from gun shot wounds after his failed attempt to capture the military barracks.

Earlier, Tarakinikini had threatened to sue the New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister, Phil Goff for saying: "There is some suspicion that the person that rebel forces have been trying to replace Commodore Bainimarama with is Lieutenant-Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini". Goff stood his ground and said that Tarakinikini was free to take whatever action he wanted to. Lieutenant-Colonel Tarakinikini also said that he is now reconsidering his career in the military.

There are rumours that Tarakinikini was reconsidering his career in the military for some time now. In April, Police Commissioner Isikia Savua tried unsuccessfully to get Tarakinikini into the Police Force to replace ASP Jahir Khan. This move, it is rumoured now, was to prepare Tarakinikini for the Police Commissioners job if the 19 May attempt would have succeeded which would have seen Savua usurp the Prime Minister's post. It is now speculated that Tarakinikini was in line for either the Military Commander's post or the Commissioner of Police's post if the 2 November attempted coup would have succeeded. There are strong rumours that the suspended Police Commissioner, Isikia Savua would have taken over the Prime Ministership and Rabuka the Presidentship after the 2 November attempt. No evidence has been provided to support these allegations.

The military and the police are now investigating Tarakinikini and some senior military officers for their role in the 2 November attempted coup.

END

UK Wants Fiji To Retain 1997 Constitution

Issue No: 183; 7 November 2000

The Government of United Kingdom wants the 1997 Constitution to be retained by Fiji.

In a media conference today, UK's new High Commissioner to Fiji said that the UK wants the restoration of constitutional democracy in Fiji as soon as possible. Referring to the shootout at the military barracks, he said that the incident indicated that the sooner constitutional democracy is returned the better for Fiji. He stressed that the UK wants a constitution that protects all citizens equally, and in the UK's view the 1997 Constitution did this well. He said the UK wanted minimal changes to be made to the 1997 Constitution.

END 7 November 2000


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