FIJI REBEL DEFIED SHOOT ORDER THURSDAY

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (November 7, 2000 - Fiji's Daily Post)---Now that the smoke of battle has settled at Delainabua, stories are emerging of how a rebel soldier defied orders to kill two fellow officers under his charge at the then captured officers mess.

And there is a story of a member of the Great Council of Chiefs already in military attire ready to assume command upon the capture of army chief Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

Rebel soldier Serupepeli Dakai was ordered to finish off Major Niko Bukarau and another officer at the height of the mutiny at Queen Elizabeth Barracks last Thursday.

But he refused to shoot the two officers who were later released unharmed.

During the shoot-out Dakai and other members of the Counter Revolutionary Warfare (CRW) unit who were recently released from custody were attending a lecture with psychologist Father Makario.

When gunshots were heard Dakai ran outside and was given a pistol with the order to shoot Major Bukarau for reasons only known to the officer who gave the orders. Major Bukarau confirmed he was supposed to be shot but did not elaborate.

"I should be in the mortuary if everything went as planned," Major Bukarau said last night. Police confirmed Major Bukarau intervened and told them the real story when Dakai was overpowered.

The officer who gave the orders was later shot and is now in hospital. This revelation added another twist to what actually happened up at the army barracks on that fateful Thursday afternoon.

The Daily Post was given a Vodafone number to call just 10 minutes after the shoot-out and was informed of the take-over by a senior officer who answered the call. This officer is in hospital.

This same officer called the chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs Sitiveni Rabuka to negotiate on their behalf. However, Mr. Rabuka told him he was totally against what they were doing. Police say they have ruled out Lieutenant Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini being connected to what happened after going through all relevant information at their disposal.

Lt. Col. Tarakinikini was very disappointed at allegations by New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Phil Goff, that he was involved in the attempted take-over at the military camp. He also confirmed that he did not play any part in the attempted take-over.

The GCC member who was in army uniform was to have taken over as army commander from Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

It was very fortunate the operation was poorly planned and the rebels did not get the support they had banked upon.

It’s believed that a radio announcement calling for all senior Army officers to report to the military camp was a code for all rebel supporters to come in. However, quick action from the military stopped any form of public support for the rebel soldiers to come into the camp.

Meanwhile 19 rebel soldiers are being held at the Nabua Police Station.

A Daily Post source confirmed that government vehicle No. GM415 was confiscated yesterday but there was no confirmation from Military and Police.

Police investigations are continuing.

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

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