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8 Dead; 22 Hospitalised; Suva Closed

Issue No: 168; 3 November 2000

The curfew imposed last night from 8pm has been extended by another 24 hours to 6 am tomorrow 4 November. Except for those involved in the delivery of emergency services, all residents in the Suva, Nasinu, Nausori, Lami and Korovou areas are required to stay at home. The military says this is because it is still pursuing the rebel soldiers who fled the barracks early yesterday evening.

Reports of further exchanges after midnight were also made. It is believed that further attempts were made by the rebels to again take over the military barracks.

By 6 am this morning, 8 soldiers were killed of which 5 belonged to the rebel group. Another 22 are hospitalised. Military's spokesman, Howard Politini stated that it "was a real battle" at the barracks.

The Fiji Times today states that the rebels, led by Serupepeli Dakai, claimed were betrayed by Commander Bainimarama when he ordered the storming in of the Kalabu Fijian Primary School where the terrorists had moved to, and for ordering the arrest of the terrorists. The Times quoted Dakai as saying: "We have taken control of the camp. Yes, it was the group that was released from detention last week but we now have more soldiers with us. We felt betrayed by Bainimarama. When the Muanikau Accord was signed, we gave up our weapons in good faith. We had nothing to do with the weapons that went missing and we thought he would honor the agreement. Instead look at what they did to those who were in Parliament" [Look up the Muanikau Accord in Documents-others on this site].

Military's Filipo Tarakinikini, who some weeks ago was relieved of his spokesperson role, told the Fiji Times that he did not what to be seen near the army headquarters in case it was taken as a sign that he was siding with the rebels.

People's Coalition's, Dr. Tupeni Baba questioned the whereabouts of the senior officers of the military. He also warned that if this problem was not nipped in the bud, the rebels and terrorists still outside will regroup and Fiji could see a long period of unrest.

1987 military coup leader Sitiveni Rabuka was quoted by the Fiji Times as saying: "This is gong to affect us badly".

Meanwhile Suva, Nausori and Lami towns are completely shut down. All flights to and from Nausori have been cancelled

END 3 November 2000


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