Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Brave Methodist Church Minister stands his ground telling soldiers: "Shoot Me First"

Posted on Coup Four Point Five - 23 August 2011

EMPTY: Centenary Church was to have been busy today with the Methodist Conference.
A former president of the Methodist Church last night refused to go to the Queen Elizabeth Barracks with military soldiers who turned up at his Suva house. 
After yesterday cancelling the Methodist Church conference, Frank Bainimarama's henchmen tried to take retired Methodist Church president, Reverend Josateki Koroi, to QEB.

Rev Koroi says he returned home at about 8 o'clock last night to find an army truck parked at his house, with two soldiers and a policeman inside the vehicle. He says one of the soldiers was a Lance Corporal but he couldn't make out the rank of the second one who remained in the dark and on the phone with someone from the barracks.

Rev Koroi says the policeman spoke to him first, telling him the Army Commander, Bainimarama, wanted to see him. He told him other senior ministers from the Church were already at QEB waiting for him and they "can't finish talks" until he joins them.
The retired minister says he refused to go telling them "It's late at night" and he had had a long day.
He says he told them the only way they were going to get him to camp was if they bundled up his feet and forced him physically or "shoot me and take my dead body".

Rev Koroi says the soldiers and the police kept pressuring him to accompany them, so he told them to call the Commander so he could speak to him but they refused.
The trio finally left when it was clear the Reverend was not going to listen to them.

Rev Koroi recently wrote a paper detailing why Christians should be involved in Politics in Fiji  and suspects Bainimarama wanted to talk to him about it as well as the conference.

He says if he is visited again today by military soldiers and police he will repeat his message from last night: and that is that only way they will get him to the barracks is to shoot him and take his body.

The military has also put it about that Rev Manasa Lasaro was taken to QEB. Rev Lasaro has confirmed that is not the case and that he hasn't heard of any other minister being hauled in either.

Editor's Note: FBC is reporting the regime is expected to release a statement this morning about the cancellation of the conference.


Radio NZ International News - 22 August 2011

The Methodist Church of Fiji’s conference, which was scheduled to begin today, has been canceled.

The Military’s spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni confirmed the decision yesterday evening.

However, Lieutenant Colonel Leweni refused to give further details.

The Church’s Assistant General Secretary, Reverend Tevita Nawadra, told Radio Tarana in Auckland, church officials were called to the military camp last night and told the meeting would now not go ahead.

“The reason, they had asked the President [Reverend Ame Tugaue] and the General Secretary [Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu] not to lead the meeting because they are involved in a court case, but then when we met, the church leaders decided we should carry on with our meeting in accordance with our constitution and that was for our president to lead.”

Lieutenant Colonel Leweni had earlier made it clear that Reverend Ame Tugaue, Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu and executive Reverend Manasa Lasaro were not allowed to chair any of the meetings during the conference.


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