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Fiji military stages coup

Written by: Staff
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SUVA, Dec 5 (Reuters) Fiji's military chief said today the army had taken over the country, plunging the South Pacific island nation into its fourth coup in 20 years.

''As of six o'clock this evening the military has taken over the running of the government and the country,'' Commander Frank Bainimarama told a news conference in Suva.

Bainimarama had repeatedly threatened to topple Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's government, which won a second five-year term in May, claiming it is corrupt and soft on those behind Fiji's last coup in 2000.

Heavily-armed troops have erected roadblocks around the capital Suva and surrounded the prime minister's residence. Qarase said earlier on Tueasday he was under house arrest.

REUTERS SHB BD1211

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