22 Feb 2005

Fiji rebel soldier threatened life of military commander during coup, court martial told

10:07 am on 22 February 2005

The court martial of a rebel soldier in Fiji has been told that he made written threats on the life of the commander, Commodore Bainimarama, during the coup.

On trial is Corporal Lagilagi Vosabeci of the now disbanded Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit who is charged with mutiny, wrongful confinement of the Chaudhry government and misprision of treason.

The Fiji Sun reports that the military prosecutor, Anil Singh, produced a letter from Vosabeci to Commodore Bainimarama threatening his life over his alleged orders to put down the coup by force.

The letter read in part, "Let this be a warning to Voreqe (Frank). We also have bullets but don't want to waste it on him."

A prosecution witness, Sergeant Epeli Gaunavouivuda, told the court martial several high ranking military officers visited parliament and met with the accused during the hostage taking.

Among these were Lt Col Tarakinikini, Col Korovusere, Major Josefa Savua and others.

The witness said coup convicts George Speight, Timoci Silatolu, Ratu Jope Seniloli, Jo Nata, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure as well as government senator Adi Litia Cakobau were regular visitors to the office in parliament occupied by the accused.