2 Nov 2004

Trial in Fiji told mutiny aimed at removing military commander

8:35 pm on 2 November 2004

The High Court criminal trial of a Fiji government senator has heard that the November 2000 mutiny was organised to remove the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

The senator, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, who is also paramount chief of Naitasiri, is facing four counts of inciting mutiny and one count of aiding soldiers in an act of mutiny which claimed eight lives exactly four years ago.

Radio Legend reports that a state witness in the trial, Captain Jotame Masivono, has told the Suva High Court that soldiers of the Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit were angry that Commodore Bainimarama planned to disband the unit.

This was after men from the unit carried out the Speight coup several months earlier.

The court heard that the former commander of the unit, Captain Shane Stevens, was put in charge of leading the assault on the main army camp under orders from those who wanted Commodore Bainimarama removed.

Captain Masivono said Stevens was the only one who knew the names of those who instigated the mutiny but his investigation team was prevented from questioning Stevens at the hospital where he was recovering from gunshot wounds.

The trial was earlier told that Takiveikata held several meetings to plan the mutiny at the Naitasiri Provincial Council office, Captain Stevens' home and at the Seventh Day Adventist Church's camp site at Pacific Harbour.

Captain Stevens is currently serving a jail sentence after being found guilty of mutiny in a court martial last year.