SAMOAN VILLAGERS DEFEND DECISION TO EXILE NON-METHODIST FAMILY

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APIA, Samoa (October 21, 1998 - Radio Australia)---Methodist Chiefs on Upolu, who tied up five men and destroyed their homes, say they were following ancestral customs that permit only Methodist worship in the village.

Five men from the village of Salamumu on the main island of Upolu, were hog tied and dumped two kilometers (a little more than a mile) away because they were practicing a religion other than Methodist. The family is now banned from returning to the village.

The five men say they are not affiliated with any church but were only hosting bible study and prayer meetings in their home.

The Salamumu mayor says the victims had been warned not to worship in the village, but they disobeyed by trying to introduce a new faith.

Salamumu rules permit only Methodist worship within the settlement, but non-Methodists are permitted to leave and worship outside the village.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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