Monday, May 19, 2008

2000 coup was five eighth: Savua

2000 coup was five eighth: Savua
19 MAY 2008

The former Fiji police chief accused of being the ‘mystery man’ behind the overthrow of the Chaudhry Government on May 19, 2000 says it couldn’t be him because it was a “five eighth coup”.

Colonel Isikia Savua, appointed Police Commissioner by 1987 coup leader Brigadier General Sitiveni Rabuka, said it was an insult to be associated with George Speight’s coup.

Savua was suspected to be the man Speight and rebel soldiers were waiting for in Parliament to lead them immediately after they had engaged the Members of Parliament.

The police department’s inaction in subduing the protest march through the streets of Suva by the nationalist Taukei Movement on the morning of May 19 further fuelled speculations that Savua was linked to the insurgents.

But, 11 years later and retired from the civil service, Savua maintains his innocence.

“No, it was not me because from the beginning (1987 coup) I hated coups,” Savua told Fijilive.

“It changes people. Some very good soldiers become arrogant as if they are bestowed with all the powers. I don’t like that.”

Police investigations into the 2000 coup have since closed.

Police have not found any incriminating evidence against Savua.

A commission of inquiry into the 2000 coup led by the then Chief Justice also exonerated Savua despite revealing submissions presented by certain organisations against him.

Apart from Rabuka, Savua and former army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini were generally regarded then to be the army officers capable of conducting a ‘successful’ coup, given their training.

Savua admits he has that capacity.

“I’ve been insulted. I’ve been accused to have been part of this five eighth coup.

“It was disorganised and in all sorts of problem.

“If I did it, it won’t be like that.

“If I did it, I would be President by now!”

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