Two friends drown, call for help ends in tragedy

Isei Vuli shows a photo of his nephew Mosese Mamafainoa during an interview at his residence in Kinoya yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

ISA my pei (baby). He just wanted to be a talatala (preacher).”

These were the words of an emotional and distraught mother, Marica Muavesi Koroitamana, in a social media message exchange with this newspaper from her home in Santa Rosa, California, in the US yesterday.

Ms Koroitamana’s youngest son, Mosese Mamafainoa Dukoro, was one of two young men who allegedly drowned in the Sigatoka River on Sunday while trying to save another friend. Mr Dukoro returned to Fiji last month from visiting his mother in the US.

Recalling their last moments together, Ms Koroitamana said she had begged Mosese not to return to Fiji, but he insisted that he had to come back and fulfil his dream of becoming a preacher.

“He is the only one in Fiji and I had told him not to come back and he said ‘no I need to fulfil my dream. I want to be a talatala’,” she said. “So I let him go and told him go forth, God be with you mighty man of God.”

Mr Dukoro was living with his uncle, Isei Vuli, at their home in Kinoya, Nasinu, before he left for Sigatoka on Thursday to attend his friend’s 21st birthday celebration. According to Mr Vuli, after the birthday he told his nephew to return with him to Suva, but he said he would come later with his friends.

“I was shocked when police visited me at midnight on Sunday to relay the tragic news,” he said. “My nephew was a very well-mannered boy, always listening and was a staunch Christian. He just wanted to become a talatala.”

Meanwhile, divisional police commander West Senior Superintendent of Police Verani Nakauyaca confirmed the two men who were in their 20s had gone swimming and tried to save a classmate when the incident happened. SSP Nakauyaca said a post-mortem examination would be conducted today as the investigation continued. The drowning death toll now stands at 13 compared with 14 for the same period last year.

*Luke Nacei also contributed to the reporting of this event.

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