FIJI GOVERNMENT IS AWARE OF REBEL GROUP

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (December 2, 1999 – Fiji’s Daily Post)---"Government is aware of a gangster-like group out to destabilize them," said the Home Affairs Minister, Jioji Uluinakauvadra.

Mr. Uluinakauvadra said he was aware that the group members are meeting behind closed doors and drawing up plans.

"The police have set up a network all over the country and are closely monitoring the situation," he said.

The minister said police investigations have led them to believe the group has been in operation since day one of the new government.

"We have informers everywhere and we have a fair idea who they are," he said.

Mr. Uluinakauvadra said people should realize that the "full brunt of the law was going to fall on those found guilty of trying to destabilize government."

"Look at the bombing incident. We finally caught up with them as we have police expertise now."

Mr. Uluinakauvadra said the recent spate of bombings was also part of the plan.

"If we can get these guys we are definitely going to catch up on the others."

Meanwhile, a Fijian Nationalist Party candidate in this year's general elections appeared in the Suva Magistrate’s Court yesterday in connection with a series of bombing incidents in Suva in August.

Josaia Waqabaca, 43, pleaded not guilty to three counts of possession of unlawful explosives and attempts to destroy properties before Magistrate Madhuri Sharma.

The first count was in relation to the unlawful possession of explosives, the second count was to attempt to destruction of a property at Suva Street and the third count was in connection of an unlawful attempt to destroy buses at Edinburgh Drive.

Waqabaca's lawyer Naipote Vere made an application for bail, which was rejected by Mrs. Sharma.

Police prosecutor Armogam Goundar told the court investigations were continuing and police have identified other suspects.

The case was adjourned until next Monday.

A schoolteacher was sentenced to two years about two weeks ago over the bombings as well.

Tui Vunibola, 31, had given police the names of those he claimed were involved with him.

Vunibola, a technical officer with the Ministry of Labour at the time of the bombings, pleaded guilty to possessing explosives without a permit and attempting to destroy property using those explosives.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fiji Live.

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