Fijian military detains and interrogates Methodist Church leaders

The Pacific region of the Council for World Mission (CWM) is extremely concerned about the actions of Fijian military forces in detaining and interrogating leaders of the Fiji Methodist Church.

CWM has received reports that on the night of 21 July the General Secretary and two former presidents of the Methodist Church, and on the morning of 22 July the Church’s accountant, were taken by military officials and are being detained and interrogated at a nearby army camp. This action has been justified by the Bainimarama regime on the basis that the Methodist church is "too political”.

A representative for the Pacific region of CWM, the Rev Martin Baker is calling upon all Pacific Churches to actively lobby their governments to bring pressure on the Bainimarama regime to release the church officials, and to support free and fair elections at the earliest possible date.

“We hold real fears for the safety of these Church leaders. We are alarmed that the military regime in Fiji appears to be taking increasingly oppressive measures against the Church,” says Mr Baker.

“In my capacity as Assembly Executive Secretary of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, I have previously communicated these concerns to our government here, and will be doing so again.”

The Rev Martin Baker is the Assembly Executive Secretary of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and also a Pacific region representative for the London-based Council for World Mission.

The Uniting Church in Australia has also released a more detailed statement by its mission and development agency UnitingWorld