Sevusevu To Terrorists Was Authorised By Commander
Issue No: 742 9 May 2001
The sevusevu which was presented to the terrorists in the Parliament Complex last year as they were holding the government hostage, was done at the expressed approval of the Commander of the Military, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.
This was revealed in a report in today's Fiji Sun by former military officer and an aspirant to the Commander's post, Col. Jeremaia Waqanisau. Waqanisau is now the Official Secretary in the President's Office.
"The only time I was seen in parliament was when I was directed by the Commander to take my group down to present our sevusevu. When the Commander said it was okay to negotiate with Speight, people in Parliament told the Commander, `if you want to negotiate, come and start where you should start, that is, to say, `come and present your sevusevu in Parliament, the vanua is here in parliament'. That's the way it was put across. So the Commander came to me and asked me to take my group down to Parliament to present our sevusevu".
The sevusevu is a traditional presentation to mark an appreciation, or to make a request.
Waqanisau's comments came after this website published extracts of a report written by soldiers charged with mutiny claiming that Waqanisau supported the terrorists (see: http://www.pcgov.org.fj/hot_press/no722.htm )
The Sun also states that the police are now investigating Waqanisau for his involvement with the terrorists. The paper also says that the military commander Com. Voreqe Bainimarama called the Sun's editor last week to "vouch for Col. Waqanisau's loyalty to him and the military".
Meanwhile, the military stated in its affidavit against the habeas corpus application by the detained office Penaia Baleinamau that Col. Baleinamau had authorised military weapons to be given to the terrorists and that he still commanded a lot of respect with the former CRW soldiers. It further stated that Baleinamau still commanded a lot of adverse influence, and that this was a security risk.
The recent revelations confirm that the military is thoroughly divided with cross-cutting loyalties of senior officers and the rank and file. Some analysts believe that with the way the investigations are proceeding, the rejection of the High Court judgment, the lack of respect for law and order, and the revelations of the involvement of some prominent personalities with the terrorists, another flare-up is in the making.