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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended July 23, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 24Jul00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

LDS Church Pulls Most Missionaries From Volatile Fiji

SUVA, FIJI -- In the wake of threats by rebel leader George Speight to lead new efforts against ethnic Indians in Fiji, the LDS Church has pulled all non-Fijiian missionaries from the country. Following Speight's May 19th coup, the Church had moved missionaries to the west side of the island, away from the capital.

The evacuation includes 50 of the 110 missionaries on the island and moves the mission headquarters and Mission President Roy Bauer to New Zealand temporarily. Missionaries in the islands of New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Kiribati, also part of the Suva Fiji Mission, are not affected by the evacuation.

Speight's coup May 19th addressed the frustrations of some native Fijiians with the influx of ethnic Indians into the island nation since World War II. Now 44 percent of the nation is ethnic Indian and the ousted government was majority ethnic Indian. Speight has recently broadened his efforts and is calling for a movement throughout the South Pacific for native rights, including those of Australia's Aborigines. He is threatening to disrupt the upcoming Olympic Games in Sydney Australia over the issue.

The instability in the country has led the US government to warn its citizens against traveling to Fiji. The State Department urged Americans "to defer travel to Fiji because of continued uncertainty and instability resulting from the ongoing political crisis." However, the situation didn't stop LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, who managed to enter Fiji and dedicate the Church's new Temple there on June 18th.


LDS Church Pulls Most Missionaries From Volatile Fiji
Salt Lake Tribune 23Jul00 N1


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