- Title: FIJI: COUP LEADER GEORGE SPEIGHT ACCUSES MILITARY OF "ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT".
- Date: 13th June 2000
- Summary: SUVA, FIJI (JUNE 13, 2000) (AGENCY POOL - ACCESS ALL) 1. GV/MV/PAN: COUP LEADER GEORGE SPEIGHT WALKING DOWN STEPS TO GIVE NEWS CONFERENCE/ VARIOUS OF REPORTERS GATHERED (2 SHOTS) 0.20 2. MV/CU: BULLET HOLE IN CAR (2 SHOTS) 0.27 3. CU: (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) SPEIGHT SAYING "The fact that they had fired at us with the intent to kill confirms in my mind what perhaps has been the army's hidden agenda... "But as you can see I am here, I'm alive and well...I am in good cheer and I am not discouraged in any way with regard to the principles of the cause we started on May 19th". 1.08 4. CU: (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) SPEIGHT SAYING "I would like to receive a written apology from the commander confirming the fact that someone in the army, there is a plan within his ranks, he told me last night he was apologetic for what happened..I told him either he is lying or someone within his ranks is and he has absolutely not control over the army". 1.41 5. GV/CU: MILITARY OFFICIAL GIVING STATEMENT (2 SHOTS) 1.52 6. CU: (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) SPEIGHT SAYING "You don't need to be Einstein to work that one out. I don't know what all this concern is about the hostages but it's obvious if anything happens to myself or any part of my group that the hostages, particularly if the army does it like what thepolice are doing, something will happen to the hostages, their lives are in danger, obviously". 2.14 7. MV/MCU: SPEIGHT EXAMINING CAR THAT WAS HIT BY BULLET/ VARIOUS OF ARMED GUARDS AND MILITARY (7 SHOTS) 3.25 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 28th June 2000 13:00
- Location: SUVA, FIJI
- Country: Fiji
- Reuters ID: LVAF2ZOBV8F08D4F9XD8Z5B43OIA
- Story Text: Fiji coup leader George Speight said on Tuesday that
divine intervention probably saved him from an "assassination
attempt" when troops open fired on his car at a military
checkpoint in the capital Suva.
Speaking for the first time since the incident on
Monday, Speight rejected the military's explanation that the
shooting was a mistake, saying he believed he had "survived a
"Maybe it was divine intervention," he told reporters
inside the parliamentary complex where he has been holding 31
political hostages since his May 19 coup.
Speight said that if he had been shot his supporters would
have harmed the hostages, who include deposed ethnic Indian
Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry.
"All the Fijians in Fiji would have risen up in anger.
Some of them would have taken their anger out on the
hostages," Speight said.
Speight and his men stormed parliament on May 19,
capturing the country's first ethnic Indian prime minister and
senior members of his Labour Party.
Speight says his coup was necessary to protect the rights
of indigenous Fijians.He says he wants to strip ethnic
Indians, who make up 44 percent of the population, of
In response, the military took over the government and
declared martial law.Soldiers with shoot-to-kill orders man
roadblocks all around the South Pacific nation.
On Monday, troops fired at a motorcade carrying Speight
after the lead car failed to stop at a military checkpoint
near the parliamentary compound.No one was injured.
A Speight spokesman said on Monday that supporters had to
be restrained from storming the capital Suva in retaliation.
Armed Speight supporters have in the past gone on rampages in
Suva, destroying a TV station and shooting dead a policeman.
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