1 May 2002

Samoan village expels five young people because of their religious beliefs

11:05 am on 1 May 2002

Five young Samoan churchgoers have been exiled from Lotoso'a for worshipping at denominations not approved by the village matai or chiefs.

Lotoso'a, one of seven sub-villages in Saleimoa allows residents to attend only the Catholic Church the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints.

The five who were exiled attended Assembly of God services and Bible classes in Apia and other locations outside the village.

Earlier the five appeared in the Lands and Titles Court which appeled to the matai to resolve the dispute peacefully and according to law.

The young people said they had each been fined a carton of tinned fish and were told by the chiefs if they did not pay the fine they would face the traditional punishment of mu le foaga which involves the total destruction of an offender's property.

The punishment was not enforced.