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SUVA, Fiji Islands (June 8, 2000 – Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Renegade military officers, including Fiji's former spy chief, who have backed rebel leader George Speight have been decommissioned and tossed out of the armed forces.

Spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini has confirmed that the military has stripped senior soldiers of their commissions, the Daily Post reported today.

The commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, had given all soldiers an ultimatum to return to barracks by 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

Four officers responded to the call and met the deadline, but it is not known how many soldiers are still based in Parliament with the rebels - possibly as many as 18.

Named among the decommissioned officers are:

* Lieutenant-Colonel Metuisela Mua, director of the Fiji Intelligence Service established by former coup master Sitiveni Rabuka after the 1987 coups but which was abolished by the new Fiji Labour Party-led coalition government last year.

* Lieutenant-Colonel Tevita Bakarau.

* Major Joseva Savua, an officer in the Engineers Corps territorials who is a younger brother of Police Commission Isikia Savua.

* Captain Rakuita Vakalalabure.

* Lieutenant Penaia Baleinamau.

* Lieutenant Serupepeli Dakai.

Meanwhile, the military has warned that the country's sugarcane farmers should harvest their cane or face prosecution under martial law as the stalemate continues between the rebels and the interim military government.

Army spokesman Captain Howard Politini said Commodore Bainimarama had appealed to farmers to start their harvest, according to the Daily Post.

"We are waiting for the farmers to go ahead," said Capt. Politini.

"We have the option to order them to harvest."

Capt. Politini said the military could prosecute farmers for refusing to abide by the order under martial law.

The Fiji Sun today declared: "What are we waiting for?" as it appealed for an end to the political impasse.

"The ball is in Mr Speight's court," the paper said in an editorial.

"He can either step back, and allow Commodore Bainimarama to salvage the situation, or go full steam ahead and carry the indigenous people of this country into an uncertain future filled with uncertainties."

Title -- 2768 FIJI: Military tosses out renegade officers Date -- 8 June 2000 Byline – None Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Pasifik Nius, 8/6/00 Copyright – PN Status – Unabridged

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