NEWS

Families In Fear

Villagers of Lepanoni Village and Vunibuabua Settlement in Pacific Harbour are living in fear after the brutal rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl at Loloma Beach, Pacific Harbour on
18 Mar 2016 11:51
Families In Fear
Members of the Pacific Harbour community and surrounding areas came together to say prayers and light candles in memory Mere Ailevu at Loloma beach last night. PhotoPhoto: RONALD KUMAR.

Villagers of Lepanoni Village and Vunibuabua Settlement in Pacific Harbour are living in fear after the brutal rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl at Loloma Beach, Pacific Harbour on Sunday.

Mere Ailevu was a Year Seven student at Lomary Primary School. She was reported missing from home on Sunday night. Her body was later discovered by a security officer of Lepanoni Village on Monday afternoon.

Lepanoni Village headman Jione Temo, 48, said the villagers were still trying to come to terms with the killing of one of their daughters.

He said this was a tragic time for their village.

“This is the first time something like this has happened. It is still affecting me as a father, as I also have daughters,” Mr Temo said.

“We are all scared around here. We can’t let our children go outside or go alone to places.”

The village committee, he confirmed, met on Tuesday and had decided that high school students were not to be part of any youth group.

“We have decided that only young adults will be part of the youth.

“What happened has taken its toll on our children as well. A parent has taken her child to hospital, because this incident has affected her a lot.”

His wife, Marica Temo, 39, said their two teenage daughters have never been able to sleep alone ever since the incident happened.

“Now they are not able to sleep in their rooms alone. They are scared,” Mrs Temo said.

“The kids here in the village are not even seen going for swimming at the beach because they are still shocked and scared.”

The village’s Women’s Fellowship leader, Sainimili Nasaudrodro, 60, said what happened to Mere posed a lot of risks to women and children at the village and nearby areas.

“I have been here for more than 30 years and I’ve never experienced anything like this. We really feel unsafe and scared to even move around,” Mrs Nasaudrodro said.

“Some families here in the village have moved to other houses to sleep with other families because they are scared and traumatised by what had happened.”

Mr Temo said one of their main points of discussion in their village meeting last night was to strengthen the role of the Crime Prevention Committee in the village.

“We will be talking more on the need for the committee to conduct patrols around the village at night,” Mr Temo said.

“We will also be monitoring those from other villages that come into our village.”

He said it had been found that many people who came from other villages were breaching rules in the village.

“We will be monitoring what they have come to do in our village and for how long he or she would be here,” he said.

Residents of Vunibuabua settlement have also agreed to monitor movements into their settlement during the community meeting last night.

Meanwhile, the funeral for Mere Ailevu will be held tomorrow.

 

Edited by Maraia Vula

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