FIJI'S NATIVE LAND TRUST BOARD EVICTS INDO-FIJIAN FARMERS

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (August 8, 1999 – Radio Australia)---A former member of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs is offering his land to farmers displaced by the expiration of their land leases.

Radio Australia correspondent Ofa Kaukimoce reports, the Native Land Trust Board this week began evicting mainly Indo-Fijian farmers from land they'd been leasing over the past 99 years.

"The Board says these farmers were given a grace period of one year when their leases expired last year, to find another piece of land. However, that grace period expired last week and the Board found that they were still living on the land."

"Eviction notices were then issued and still none of the farmers had moved out. The first eviction took place yesterday with more to follow today."

"Meanwhile, while most Fijians are taking back their land, a chief in the western province of Ra, Ratu Josua Mara Kapaiwai, has expressed concern for these farmers and is offering the government 4,000 acres of land to resettle the displaced farmers."

"Ofa Kaukimoce for Radio Australia News in Suva."

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