Fiji Charges 3 in Plot to Kill PM
Sixteen arrested; military junta accuses Australia, New Zealand of involvement
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2007 8:04 AM CST
Fiji's military ruler Frank Bainimarama makes a statement at the officers mess at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in the capitol Suva in this Dec. 7, 2006 file photo. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Police have arrested 16 people, including a New Zealand businessman, in alleged plot to assassinate Fiji's interim PM Frank Bainimarama. Three of those arrested were charged with treason; police are said to be looking for more conspirators. The military government, which seized power in a coup last year, claims the attempt was hatched by NGOs funded by neighboring Australia and New Zealand, ABC Australia reports.

Ministers from those countries, which have consistently called for the island nation to return to democracy, reject the claims as patently absurd. "What he seems to be doing is finding any excuse to go and round up people who've long been opposed to him," New Zealand's PM said. The detained New Zealander was beaten so severely that he couldn't talk when diplomats were finally granted access to him.