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FIJI: Goff stands by comment over mutiny

NZ FOREIGN MINISTER STANDS BY COMMENT ON FIJI MUTINY

* See earlier reports online: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/docs/news/nius3087shoot.html

SUVA: New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff has refused to retract his statement against the alleged involvement of senior Fiji military officer Lieutenant Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini in last Thursday's mutiny in the Fiji military headquarters that claimed eight lives, reports Pacnews.

Goff told Radio New Zealand that he stood by his comments and that the senior Fiji army officer was welcome to sue him if he wanted to.

Colonel Tarakinikini had expressed disgust at Goff's allegation, denying that he was neither aware nor involved in the mutiny which saw a group of about 40 soldiers attempting to assassinate their commander, triggering a fierce gun battle inside the military camp.

The colonel had told reporters in the weekend that he was considering legal action against Goff.

"Well, he is welcome to go ahead with that legal action and if that requires a wider investigation of his background and his contact," Goff told Radio New Zealand and re-broadcast on Radio Fiji this morning.

"I have made by comments very carefully and I stand by those comments and I await any further move by the lieutenant colonel," the minister added.

In another development, the families of some rebel soldiers killed in last Thursday's mutiny including the parents of a prisoner who had been on the run for the past three months are considering legal action against the army pending post mortem results which were due yesterday.

+++niuswire

This document is for educational and research use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source before reprinting. PASIFIK NIUS service is provided by the niusedita via the Journalism Program, University of the South Pacific. Please acknowledge Pasifik Nius: niusedita@pactok.net.au http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/nius/index.html


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