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Fiji Time: 2:32 PM on Sunday 31 August

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Police look into gang rape claim

Serafina Silaitoga
Thursday, May 24, 2012

A group of villagers in Vanua Levu are being investigated by police for the alleged defilement of a 12-year old mentally challenged girl.

Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri confirmed that police are looking into the allegation in which the village headman is also accused of being part of the group.

The Cakaudrove Provincial Office has warned village headmen in the province and those in traditional leadership roles that if found guilty of such offences they would be dealt with accordingly.

The situation has also drawn the attention of the Fiji Disabled People's Association that labelled the incident as "sad because these are the very people we trust to look after us".

Insp Sokomuri assured that they would treat the alleged incident like any criminal case requiring thorough investigation.

"We have received a report and started our investigations into the case which involves a group of men."

Insp Sokomuri said the village nurse reported the matter to police.

The report was also lodged at the Cakaudrove Provincial Office and a disciplinary action against the village headman รน if found guilty would apply.

Roko Tui Cakaudrove Ro Aca Mataitini, who is in Suva, said he was aware of the case and that he would visit the village headman next week.

"My team has already visited the village last week and has spoken to the villagers. It is a great concern considering the girl's condition.

"When I return to Savusavu next week, I will visit the village again and speak with the village headman.

"If he admits to the allegation, then we will have to ask him to step down because the Cakaudrove Provincial Office does not condone violence against women and children," Ro Aca said.

FDPA's executive Elenoa Kaisau said their officer in Cakaudrove had worked closely with police on the case.

"We would like to request for a serious investigation and all the necessary procedures to be carried out just like any other rape case.

"The victim needs to be provided an opportunity or environment for her to share her experience.

"We would like to see that the victim has access to appropriate counselling," Ms Kaisau said.


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