26 Sep 2002

Fiji mutiny leader names senior officers behind the May 2000 coup

7:42 am on 26 September 2002

Three senior Fiji military officers have been named as being behind the May 2000 coup.

The allegation has been made in an unsworn statement by the leader of the November 2000 mutineers, Captain Shane Stevens, during his court martial and that of of fourteen other soldiers.

Stevens told the court martial that the then acting army commander, Col Alfred Tuatoko, Col Samuela Raduva and Lt Col Filipo Tarakinikini had approved the dispatch of soldiers and weapons to parliament for the May 19th coup which overthrew the Chaudhry government.

Stevens said the three ordered taht more weapons and ammunition be taken to parliament on the first night after the coup.

He said when he informed Col Tuatoko, who was acting commander in the absence of Commodore Frank Bainimarama, he was told to let the matter go.

Stevens said the large quantity of automatic weapons taken out of the army camp were handed over to civilians sent by those in parliament and directed for storage elsewhere.