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Don't walk alone, headman warns villagers

Luke Rawalai
Tuesday, June 18, 2013

VILLAGERS of Vunisea in Dreketi, Macuata say they are living in fear after a girl was chased by a group of men last Monday.

The event, which villagers described as shocking, has also prompted parents to accompany their children to school.

Vunisea Village headman Lesia Amavere said he had cautioned villagers to refrain from boarding vehicles driven by strangers.

When a Fiji Times team visited the village on Friday, women and children walking up a hill stopped and some hid behind bushes when they saw the vehicle.

When this writer got off, the women jumped back onto the road relieved.

Since the establishment of the village around 1913, Mr Amavere said they had not had a case of rape or any other serious offence apart from minor reports of drunken youths.

"We had heard about a group going around injecting people for reasons best known to them and have rested on the police's assurance saying these were just rumours made up by people to explain weird circumstances they found themselves in.

"However, as the incident unfolded on the very road used by the villagers and our students, this has changed our views. We now realise these issues are serious and real.

"I have a daughter and I fear for her safety and those of my relatives in the village."

Mr Amavere said during his talks with the villagers, he warned them against entertaining strangers.

"Now parents accompany schoolchildren to the shortcut that leads to the school. This is still a threat since the route the students take every morning has vacant land covered in thick bushes."

Mr Amavere said he had also warned adults to walk in pairs or groups for their own safety.

He said a meeting was scheduled with village elders.

Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said as investigations continued, people should refrain from jumping into conclusions by making assumptions about the nature of the reports and must instead allow investigations to proceed.

"We have also received information that these two incidents have prompted people to carry items to defend themselves which is unnecessary. From the Duavata Community outreach programs, these were conducted before cases of these nature came to light, enquiries were made about alleged abduction cases whereby people are now basing their need to carry items to protect themselves because of these two cases."

Meanwhile, police stations and community policing posts in the North have been advised to keep a lookout for a grey vehicle which also has as its registration number FY and 8.

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