3 Sep 2002

Fiji landowners forcefully evict Lautoka families

10:19 am on 3 September 2002

Indigenous Fijian villagers armed with cane knives have forcefully evicted a Lautoka family living on land which until recently belonged to the state.

The Fiji Sun reports that the eviction follows two similar incidents in which farmers were forced off their land in Sigatoka and Lautoka.

All these farmers were living on state land known as Crown Schedule A which was transferred to indigenous owners by the Qarase government this year.

In the latest eviction, five brothers and their families numbering 42 people were forced out of their homes after a 24-hour notice was given last Sunday.

A spokesman for the families, Narendra Prasad, says after the state lease expired in 1999, they were given assurances by the director of lands that it would be renewed for a further 30 years.

He says last week, the new landowners asked for 19-thousand US dollars to which they agreed but they returned on Sunday to order the eviction.