11 Nov 2004

Mutiny leader tells Fiji court that Sitiveni Rabuka wanted the army commander removed

4:48 pm on 11 November 2004

The Suva High Court has been told that the former Fiji prime minister and 1987 coup leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, wanted the army commander, Commodore Bainimarama, removed from his position.

Radio Legend reports that this was the part of the evidence given today by the leader of the November 2000 mutiny, Captain Shane Stevens.

Captain Stevens is now serving a life sentence after a court martial last year found him guilty of mutiny.

He is testifying as a state witness in the criminal trial of Fiji government senator, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, who is facing four counts of inciting that mutiny and one count of aiding soldiers in carrying it out.

According to Captain Stevens, Mr Rabuka wanted the military commander changed and claimed this had the backing of some senior army officers.

Captain Stevens said they met with Takiveikata on two occasions before the mutiny took place, once in Tamavua and then at the Naitasiri Provincial Council office in Nausori.

Captain Stevens said Takiveikata had given an assurance that he would provide civilians to support the mutiny but failed to do so.

His evidence today corroborated many aspects of the evidence given by two earlier state witnesses, Metuisela Turagacati and Jale Kadi.