SURGEON TELLS OF FIJI "MILITARY AGAINST MILITARY" WOUNDING AND

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KILLING

SUVA, Fiji Islands (November 5, 2000 – Agence France-Presse)---A surgeon who treated many of the wounded following Fiji's military mutiny warned Sunday that worse may be to come with weapons being in the "hands of desperate hunted men."

Writing in the Fiji Sun consultant surgeon Fred Merchant told of the Colonial War Memorial Hospital here being overwhelmed Thursday with casualties from the military barracks where a mutiny was under way between the Counter Revolutionary Warfare (CRW) unit and the regular soldiers.

He said it was different from July when soldiers had fired into supporters of coup leader George Speight.

That time they had fired at legs and arms.

"This was military against military shooting to kill and snuff out life as quickly as possible," he wrote in the Sun.

"We saw head shots; chest shots; heart shots and liver shots.

"This was CRW versus the regulars -- this was killing with modern military weapons."

He described in graphic detail -- a soldier "his lung is pulped and beefy red" -- the wounded soldiers. Later civilians came in.

A woman had been hanging clothes and felt a pain in her chest and suddenly short of breath. She'd been hit close to the heart. Others were hit in the head, the thigh, the arm.

"The violence was unbelievable... the carnage ugly and a sin against humanity."

He called it "gunnitis."

"The final toll is yet to be reckoned.

"I suspect there will be more because weapons are out there in the hands of desperate hunted men."

Michael Field New Zealand/South Pacific Correspondent Agence France-Presse E-mail: afp.nz@clear.net.nz  Phone: (64 21) 688438 Fax: (64 21) 694035 Website: http://www.afp.com/english/ 

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