3 Feb 2007

Fiji military says Methodist Church has been politicised

8:38 am on 3 February 2007

Fiji's military says the country's Methodist Church has become politicised and its role should be questioned.

The military statement follows a call by the Church for President Iloilo to be medically examined and retired and for Commodore Bainimarama to step down as interim prime minister.

But the military has called on Methodists not to be misled by some of their leaders.

The military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, has told the Fiji Sun they have had discussions with the president of the Methodist Church who says the unsigned statement was released before a meeting of the church's standing committee.

Major Leweni said the statement was drafted by the Rev Tuikilakila Waqairatu and the Rev Iliesa Naivalu who are known to the military as politically motivated.

He says they were assisted by Tevita Bukarau, a former army lawyer who was sacked from the military for his role in the 2000 coup, and is out to discredit the military.

Major Leweni says it is unfortunate that the Methodist Church has allowed itself to be manipulated by such people.