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Fiji coup plotter goes public

An Indo-Fijian businessman talks about a May 2000 coup attempted along with senior politicians.

india Updated: Mar 23, 2006 11:13 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

The roles of Indo-Fijian businessmen, a very senior politician, elite Fijians and ministers in the present Fiji government in the May 2000 coup are now being made public in Australia.

Tell-all coup convict Maciu Navakasuasua, who faces a threat to his life in Fiji, has been invited by various groups throughout Australia to talk about the coup.

Navakasuasua had spoken in some gatherings last week. He was one of the initial plotters. He recruited George Speight, the rebel leader, and was one of the seven gunmen that entered parliament.

On May 19, rebels led by Speight stormed Fiji's parliamentary complex and took dozens of hostages, including then prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry. The gunmen were against Indian domination of Fiji's government and economy.

Finally an agreement was signed between the rebels and military, and army leaders agreed to scrap Fiji's constitution that guaranteed rights to ethnic Indians and to depose Chaudhry and granted the rebels immunity.

The army also allowed Fiji's influential Great Council of Chiefs to name the nation's president and vice president.

"It's just telling the truth of what actually happened in Fiji and how Fijians were fooled that it was for their own cause," Fiji Sun quoted Maciu Navakasuasua as saying.

Navakasuasua had met Army commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry separately during recent weeks in Sydney.

"He has been revealing the truth and how the main perpetrators of the 2000 coup are still walking around the streets without being prosecuted, let alone going to jail," the newspaper quoted Chaudhry as saying.

A major event has been planned for Brisbane next month where Fijian communities throughout Australia are expected to attend.

There, Navakasuasua will talk about the coup and several members of the former People's Coalition government who were held hostage for 56 days will share their experiences.

Indian Fijians, whose ancestors were brought to the islands by British colonialists over a century ago, make up 44 percent of Fiji's 812,000 people. Indigenous Fijians comprise 51 percent.

First Published: Mar 23, 2006 11:13 IST