23 Jul 2009

Fiji Methodist Church in NZ says locals will be upset at arrest of high chief

11:49 am on 23 July 2009

The head of the Fiji Methodist Church in New Zealand, the Reverend Ilaitia Tuwere says people in Fiji will be very upset by the detention of a female high chief in the middle of the night.

The Paramount Chief of the province of Rewa, Ro Teimumu Kepa, was taken into custody by police, following the detention of eight Methodist Church leaders.

It is understood her arrest follows a letter she wrote saying the province will host the Methodist Church conference, despite its cancellation by the interim government.

Reverend Tuwere says the latest detentions have brought into conflict the three pillars of Fiji Society - church, land and state.

"It has become a very sad day, a very sad day in the history of Fiji. The state is the third pillar in the social make-up of Fiji. Now the state is intimidating the two other pillars by taking them in for questioning."

Reverend Tuwere says he hopes the detention does not spark an uprising.

The president of the SDL Party, Peceli Kinivuwai was detained and questioned for several hours on Wednesday about his party's relationship with the Methodist Church and the interim regime.