22 Jul 2009

Amid church defiance, Fiji's most senior woman chief taken into police custody

10:46 am on 22 July 2009

The Paramount chief of the Fiji province of Rewa, Ro Teimumu Kepa, has been taken into police custody.

Ro Teimumu, who is the most senior female high chief in Fiji, was picked up by police early this morning.

No details have been given, but it follows an open letter in which she confirmed that her province would host the annual Methodist Church conference next month.

This is in apparent defiance of the interim regime's orders that the conference be put off indefinitely.

Yesterday, seven ministers from the church were also taken in by police for questioning.

The group was reportedly taken in after the church refused to comply with the military's instructions to sack to former church presidents.

The church leaders also want to continue with the their committee meetings.

Other churches are being allowed to hold annual meetings, including the breakaway new Methodist church led by the brother of the Police Commissioner.