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Editorial: Mutiny Reminds Us Of A Dark Past That We Do Not Want To Revisit

Today marks the 18th anniversary of the mutiny at the Republic of Fiji Military Forces’ Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua. The 2000 event, which killed some loyal and rebel soldiers,
02 Nov 2018 12:27
Editorial: Mutiny Reminds Us Of A Dark Past That We Do Not Want To Revisit
A scene from the streets of suva during the events of the 2000 Mutiny . Photo : Supplied

Today marks the 18th anniversary of the mutiny at the Republic of Fiji Military Forces’ Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua.

The 2000 event, which killed some loyal and rebel soldiers, was part of a dark history.

More than three months before it happened, the Sukanaivalu Barracks in Labasa was overrun by local iTaukei villagers headed by some chiefs.

The two events remind us that we need to make sure that we do not go back there.

They caused pain, suffering and mistrust among our various communities.

Today, wives of three loyal soldiers  who  were among the dead, will lay wreaths at QEB to pay tribute to the soldiers.

At Sukanaivalu Barracks Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama will attend a special ceremony attended by members of the Third Battalion Fiji Infantry Regiment  (3FIR) on exercise in Vanua Levu.

On this day 18 years ago soldiers were going about with their daily routine, unware of the terrible danger that awaited them.

It began as what many thought as a training exercise but sooner they realised that it was not when some members of the Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit (CRW) stormed QEB and began to open fire.

The CRW was an elite unit formed by Sitiveni Rabuka to protect him after the 1987 military coup. On May 19, 2000, some members of the unit together with coup frontman George Speight stormed Parliament where they held hostage for 56 days members of the democratically-elected Fiji Labour Party Government of Mahendra Chaudhry.

The unit was then accepted back into the RFMF by the then Commander and now Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama after they had presented a matanigasau (traditional way of seeking forgiveness) for their involvement, with Speight.

But some members of the unit went back on their words, as they opened fire on unarmed soldiers and office staff when they attemped to take over the camp.

Private Temo Veilewai was shot dead while working at his computer, Private Osea Rokosirinavosa was allegedly killed by a sniper while trying to take cover and Private Simione Rawaileba, who was resting because he was not feeling well  was shot dead while sleeping. They were unarmed.

The loyal soldiers regrouped and fought back to reclaim QEB. One would only imagine what would have become of our nation if rebel soldiers and supporters had succeeded. Sadly, many of our critics living overseas, for the sake of fulfilling their agenda in dividing up our nation, have stooped low and shamelessly gone onto social media to embrace the cause championed by the rebels of 2000.

As a nation, it’s time to stand up and tell these gutless souls to leave us alone.

We’ve come a long way since 2000, but we should never forget what had happened, as this will reaffirm our journey to the future.

The QEB and Sukanaivalu Barracks events remind us of that grim past and the need to do everything within our power to ensure they do not happen again.

Let’s tell our children what had happened on that sad November 2, the death of loyal officers and the commitment of our Security Forces to uphold the rule of law and steer our country to a new direction.

 

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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