17 Feb 2011

Thousands farewell former Fiji president Iloilo

4:29 pm on 17 February 2011

At least 3,000 people gathered for the funeral of the former Fiji president Ratu Josefa Iloilo in his village of Viseisei this morning.

The interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama and most of his cabinet, the President, church representatives, and diplomats were present for the four-hong long service.

Our correspondent Matelita Ragogo says the funeral service reflected Ratu Josefa's standing as a former president and a paramount chief.

She says the service was broadcast on national television, giving some people the first opportunity to witness such an event

"This would have been a funeral that in significance and also in what took place the amalgamation of traditional rites and a state funeral, the 21-gun salute, all this created something that we probably won't see again for a very long time."

Matelita Ragogo says eulogies delivered made reference to Ratu Josefa's faith and how he had stepped in at the time of the 2000 coup.