7 Feb 2004

Fiji soldier tells court the Nov mutiny was aimed at the removal of the army commander

10:08 am on 7 February 2004

The court martial of a second group of fiji soldiers charged with the November 2000 mutiny has been told that its aim was to eliminate the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama.

Radio Fiji says this was disclosed by a military witness, Corporal Paulo Manusetava, who was working in the armoury at the time of the mutiny on November 2nd 2000.

He said he was in the armoury when five men from the now disbanded Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit entered and asked to clean weapons that were used during the May coup in parliament.

After about two hours, the five pointed machine guns at him and told him they had taken over the armoury.

Corporal Manusetava said he and his fellow soldiers were tied up and when he asked why, he was told the rebels wanted Commodore Bainimarama out.

Corporal Manusetava said one of the mutineers then used a moblie phone to call other rebel soldiers and told them to come and collect the weapons.

He said the mutineers were wearing black t-shirts and green denim trousers and he recognised them because they had served togther in the Middle East.

The court martial will continue next Thursday.