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Fiji PM says he is under house arrest

Written by: Staff
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SUVA, Dec 5 (Reuters) Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase today said he was under house arrest as heavily armed troops surrounded his residence in the capital Suva.

''I am under house arrest, so what happens next is anybody's guess,'' Mr Qarase told Fiji radio. Mr Qarase said earlier a coup was underway in the South Pacific nation, with the military raiding key installations and setting up roadblocks throughout Suva.

Fiji's President Ratu Josefa Iloilo said in a statement that he did not condone the military's action. Fiji media and New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said earlier the president had dissolved parliament and sanctioned Mr Qarase's removal.

Military commander Frank Bainimarama has repeatedly threatened to topple 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.

Fiji has had three coups since 1987.

REUTERS SHB RAI1040

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