RABUKA DENIES THIRD FIJI COUP PLOT

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By Ashwant Dwivedi

SUVA, Fiji Islands (March 31, 2000 – Prabhaat News/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has denied visiting the Fiji Military Forces Camp after losing last year's general election to plan for a third military coup against the Labour-led coalition Government, Prabhaat News reports.

Sources told Prabhaat News that a paper on that visit by Rabuka was prepared by the Fiji Intelligence Services, which said that Rabuka had visited the camp.

A similar report is believed to have been gathered by the Police Intelligence Unit on Rabuka's visit to the camp.

Sources said that there were strong rumors that Rabuka had wanted to gain support from soldiers to stage a third military coup against the newly formed coalition Government.

In an exclusive interview with Prabhaat, Rabuka confirmed having knowledge that a paper on this issue had been prepared by the intelligence body.

But he denied and stood by his words, saying he had not visited the Fiji Military Forces camp.

"No, I have never been to the camp," Rabuka said.

He also denied any plans of plotting another military coup in the country to overthrow the Labour-led Government like he had done on 14 May 1987.

However, Rabuka confirmed being approached by a group of Fijian people seeking to hold protest marches after SVT's loss in the election.

"I was approached and asked to support the protest. But I told them that I will not be part of the march," Rabuka said.

When asked why Rabuka had not informed police authorities about the march which could have resulted in violence, Rabuka said the protest was planned to be a peaceful one within the law.

Rabuka also said that his book, "Rabuka of Fiji," published this month, was not released to win the heart of the Great Council of Chiefs.

"This book is about my personal life," Rabuka said.

In his book, Rabuka had claimed that the Labour Government led by Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry had helped develop a racial divide in the country.

On the land issue, Rabuka said that Fijian landowners did not want ALTA.

Rabuka still believes that the way the Labour Government is governing Fiji will result in Fiji being a very, very racially divided nation at the end of five years.

Prime Minister Chaudhry could not be reached for a comment on the issue.

Title -- 2628 POLITICS: Rabuka denies coup plot Date -- 31 March 2000 Byline -- Ashwant Dwivedi Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Prabhaat News, via ashwantd@hotmail.com, 31/3/00 Copyright -- Prabhaat News Status -- Unabridged

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Please acknowledge Pasifik Nius:  niusedita@pactok.net.au  http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/nius/index.html 

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