15 Aug 2002

Fiji government MP says military backed and supported the coup

3:55 pm on 15 August 2002

A Fiji government MP, Samisoni Tikonisau, says the military backed and supported the May 2000 coup.

Mr Tikonisau, who's also the brother of the coup front man, George Speight, says there's no way the coup could have succeeded without the support and knowledge of the army.

This is despite the statement last week from the assistant police commissioner, Moses Driver, that the police couldn't find any evidence that anybody else, apart from the 14 people already charged or convicted, was involved.

Mr Tikonisau says this is not the case.

"No man in his right mind, would undertake such drastic action, without the backing of the military, and I leave that as an open ended statement for speculation. It was an armed take over, the guns, the personnel, are all linked to the military."

Mr Tikonisau says renewed efforts are underway to present a petition calling for the release of George Speight who received a life sentence for his involvement in the coup.