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Fiji Sun Challenges 'Disturbing News' Motives

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SUVA (Pasifik Nius): The Fiji Sun today challenged the timing of "disturbing news" in the Pacific country, linking the reports to a possible planned impact on a series of crucial constitutional cases.

The newspaper also cited in an editorial a letter by resigned controversial officer Lieutenant-Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini that accused some in the military of continuing to "exploit the public feeling of insecurity" following the May 2000 putsch to "cover up abuse and excesses" in the country.

The editorial followed the discovery of a sniper rifle, high-powered pistol and rounds of ammunition at a training site for elite troops yesterday.

The Parker Haile 7.62mm rifle "can be used in assassinations", according t o the Fiji Times. All three daily newspapers linked the weapons to arms reputedly missing since George Speight's attempted coup.

The Sun noted Police Commissioner Isikia Savua and the military were quick to hail the discovery of the weapons at Bilo, outside Suva, as proof that rebel arms were still at large.

"As disturbing a thought that would be, we can't help but note a worrying pattern here," the Sun said.

"It seems that every time the nation braces to receive a landmark decision from the courts, the nation gets to hear 'disturbing news' - like the discovery of a sophisticated time bomb in the gardens of the Holiday Inn, not far from the court buildings at Government House.

"This was not far from the time the Court of Appeal was due to head Chandrika Prasad's case last year.

"Or news of a plot to kidnap the Prime Minister before the Court of Appeal heard [deposed Prime Minister] Mahendra Chaudhry's challenge of the legal composition of cabinet.

"Now as the Supreme Court prepares to hand down its interpretation of Senate appointments, news of the discovery of high-powered rifles have come through.

"We can only hope that these are mere coincidences.

"To assume otherwise would be dangerous and really imputing bad motives on others.

"Worthy of note too is what the court martial heard yesterday - that the stock taking record of the armoury, which was used as evidence to nullify the Muanikau Accord - was incorrect.

"How come the Bilo weapons were discovered just when the court martial learnt of the incorrect stock taking record?

"How come the man who discovered the weapons at Bilo found it [sic] in a place where he was not supposed to be?

"And why was he looking for pandanus (voivoi) on a military property that never had a pandanus tree in the first place?

"These are questions that the nation would like answers to."

Perhaps, suggested the Sun, part of the answers lay in Tarakinikini's letter of resignation from the military on February 27 when he warned that some people continued to exploit insecurity issues to the detriment of the military and the country's recovery.


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