28 Nov 2006

Fears over health of King of Wallis

3:44 pm on 28 November 2006

There are growing concerns in the French territory of Wallis and Futuna about the deteriorating health of the King of Wallis, 87-year-old Tomasi Kulimoetoke.

The public broadcaster, RFO, reports that a Roman Catholic Church service that is usually dedicated to the King and which he has always attended, had to be changed.

The king, also known as the Lavelua, has not been able to attend official ceremonies for the past three months.

Tomasi Kulimoetoke, who has been in power since 1959, signed a pact with France in 1961, granting both Wallis and Futuna the official status of French Overseas Territory.

Last year, rival clans tried to elect a new king but his supporters staged an armed rebellion and forced France to re-confirm its allegiance to tthe ailing king.