FIJI LANDOWNERS CLOSE SCHOOL

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By Geoffrey Smith

SUVA, Fiji Islands (September 8, 1998 - Fiji Times/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---At least 200 students at a Fiji school missed classes yesterday after native landowners closed the school, the Fiji Times reports.

The landowners said the lease for the land on which the Korotolutolu Primary School is located had expired in 1996. They were only aware of this last month.

The land belongs to the mataqali Nausori and Delainadi.

Clan leader Ilisoni Logaivau said a seven-day notice was given to the school management last week informing them of the plan to close the school.

"We don't believe that what we are doing here is against the law because the land is ours and if the lease expires, then that's it," Mr. Logaivau said.

He said the landowners wanted an explanation from the school and Native Land Trust Board on why they had not been told that the lease had expired two years ago.

"We could have taken more extreme measures but since we are Christians, we choose to do things this way so that at least authorities can explain why we landowners were not consulted on this," Mr. Logaivau said.

Divisional Police Commander Northern Superintendent Jone Poese said they were not aware of the incident.

The NLTB confirmed that the lease expired in 1996.

Title -- 1701 EDUCATION: Fiji landowners close school Date -- 8 September 1998 Byline -- Geoffrey Smith Origin -- mailto:niusedita@pactok.net.au Source -- Fiji Times, 8/9/98 Copyright -- Fiji Times Status -- Abridged This document is for educational and personal use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source before reprinting. PASIFIK NIUS service is provided by the niusedita via the Journalism Program, University of the South Pacific. Please acknowledge Pasifik Nius: niusedita@pactok.net.au http://www.usp.ac.fj/www/usp/soh/journ/nius/index.html

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