20 Dec 2003

Former Fiji PM says army commander must stay on

9:32 am on 20 December 2003

The former Fiji prime minister and 1987 coup leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, has backed the retention of the current army commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, until investigations into the 2000 coup and mutinies are completed.

Mr Rabuka has told the Fiji Sun that he was one of those who had been blamed for being involved in the November 2000 mutiny which claimed eight lives.

He says he had been tarnished by the allegation and wants his name cleared.

Mr Rabuka, who deposed the 1987 army commander and his deputy to carry out his coups, says the military should be praised for what they did to restore peace and stability when the country was in turmoil.

He says those who want to remove Commodore Bainimarama should now back off.