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I was worried of my father’s safety

 

May 18, 2022 12:21:41 PM

I was worried of my father’s safety New Generation Party leader Varinava Tiko says he was involved in the 2000 coup because he was worried about his father’s safety.

Tiko said his father was a strong valiant advocate of indigenous rights and often expressed himself fearlessly in public, he was part of the Taukei Movement.

On his blog, he said the father was inside the chambers when George Speight had taken over the parliamentary complex on May 19, 2000.

“My father had returned two days after the parliamentary takeover to assemble the people of Naloto at Korovou Town,” he said.

“I worried about his safety and security in amongst armed trained men so much that I couldn’t restrain myself, and asked to take on his role of transporting our people.

“My father had gone home to be with mum who was terribly afraid at the farm. In the course of my mitigation, he finally agreed to farewell his people to his wife.

“Nervously holding on to the truck railing loaded with people, I offered a prayer and asked God to forgive me. I wrestled within my heart knowing the consequences of my decision.

“Arriving into parliament, I met Jim Speight the younger brother of George and a few other colleagues in the military. I declined to carry a weapon.

“My groups of men from Naloto were positioned inside and around the main complex area where the hostages were kept,” he said.

He said he witnessed young men captured and beaten as they crossed the police and military checkpoints around the complex and thrown into waiting vehicles unconscious.

“A panic situation was imminent and new groups formed by a few desperate leaders. There were signs of confusion and disunity amongst those that desired to usurp control,” he said.

“Criminal elements started ways of gaining their own and the military open fired at George and shot unarmed civilians outside the parliament complex.

“Young men slowly lost discipline as they ran towards soldiers to disarm them, with my own eyes, I witnessed young.

“Blood poured on the surface of the complex as the hostages watched clueless Fijians fighting amongst themselves,” he said,

He said on July 8 he forced the commander Frank Bainimarama and Speight to sign the Muanikau Accord, an agreement between the parties to drop their weapons,

“On July 8, after the exercise of holding approximately 70 men under siege as hostage, I called Bainimarama and gave the officer on the other side of the line an ultimatum.

“This forced the two to sign the muanikau accord, an agreement between the parties to drop their weapons, return soldiers to the camp and form an interim government together.

“Also to take Fiji into an election process and return the country to normalcy. We carried out the siege without the use of any weapon, but by the power of unity,” he said.

He said a lesson he learnt was never to underestimate the will of someone who believes in God and whose trust is in the Lord.

By Nacanieli Tuilevuka

 

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