Roads Of Fear

Residents of three notorious Suva streets have called for more Police patrols and street lights. Their call comes in the wake of the brutal assault and suspected rape of a
03 Jan 2017 10:36
Roads Of Fear
Fiji Sun journalist Jessica Gounder makes her way across the thin concrete foundation inside the tunnel at Holland Street most frequented by street kids. Photo: Jone Luvenitoga

Residents of three notorious Suva streets have called for more Police patrols and street lights.

Their call comes in the wake of the brutal assault and suspected rape of a young university student off Holland St, Toorak.

This is one of the three streets dubbed as the streets of fear. The other two are Brewster Road, Toorak, and Robertson Road, off Waimanu Road in Suva. These three roads are somehow connected to the shortcuts used by the people living on the streets.

They are shaken by the incident where a student was grabbed along Holland Street by a man last Friday. The young woman is still admitted at the Colonial Memorial War (CWM) Hospital in Suva and severely traumatised.



Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said: “No arrest has been made and we are appealing for information that could assist with our investigations. “Anyone who may have seen someone acting in a suspicious manner around or near the scene of the crime between 10am – 12pm is requested to call Crime Stoppers on 919.”


Residents response

The Fiji Sun  team spoke to the residents of the three streets yesterday. Movie Xpress managing partner of Holland Street, Rajneil Sharma, said the rape had put people in the area in fear.

He said he had heard about people getting robbed before. “But this was the first time such an incident has happened at Holland St,” he said.

“I have been running my shop at the Holland Street for the last five years.

“I am shocked after the incident because this could happen to anyone on the street. This street is mostly quiet because not much traffic comes here.

“Holland Street is connecting to Knolly Street up to Dudley High school; it is always risky to walk on the street after 9pm because there is not much traffic flow and no street light.

“These shortcuts which connect from one street to another street is very dangerous,” he said.

Another resident Vinesh Chandra, 62, said: “The problem is people coming through the Raojibhai Patel Street, crossing the creek and coming into Holland Street.

“They come and drink near the creek after they are chased by the Police officers from the Raojibhai Patel Street.”

Mr Chandra said at times, people living on the street drank and made a lot of noise.

“Last Saturday morning, one of the street kids tried to break in one of my flats,” he said.

“Luckily my neighbour saw it and he then called me. When we came out, the street kid ran away.”

Mr Chandra has lived in the area for the last 30 years. He recalled that in the past there were more Police patrols.

“There needs to be more patrolling done by the Police. This would be the best way to prevent crime.” he said.

Resident of Robertson Road, Isaiah Tekiata said: “There are shortcuts linked to Robertson Rd. They are potential hotbeds for criminal activities.

“They usually come early in the morning from nightclubs and they move up and down. Some end up in the motels at Robertson Rd.

“Mostly new people are targets of robbery at Robertson Rd. Also those who walk the street at night are targets too.”

Mr Tekiata said there was an urgent need for more streetlights and Police patrols.

Pastor of the Kingdom Ambassador International church at Robertson Rd, Jone Nagade, said: “They use the shortcuts to walk down the street.

“It’s only few of them moving around. Police have declared Robertson Rd as a red zone,” he said.

Pastor Nagade said last year there were few cases where the cars of church members were broken into.

“We just request for more Police patrols in the area,” he said.

“I think the best way for the community is to help street people and talk to them.”

A resident of Brewster Street, Maureen Osborne, said women and girls needed to learn self-defence to protect themselves.

“There are some people who use shortcuts which lead to Augusta Street, Brown Street and Raiwaqa Street,” she said.

“There is need for more Police patrolling for people’s safety.”

Recently, another young woman fought off an attacker who tried to drag her to a vacant house at Brewster St.


Police Commissioner

Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho has acknowledged the concerns.

He said: “These streets are parts of Suva area which we are currently patrolling and we will increase patrols.

“Issues that have happened here recently show we need to be more focused and smart with our patrolling time as well.

“In the recent rape that happened at Holland St we are trying very hard to apprehend the perpetrator and we will continue to do that.

“We cannot do it alone. Members of the community need to work together and work with us on this.”


Authority’s response

Suva City Council chief executive officer Bijay Chand said the Fiji Roads Authority was responsible for street lights.

FRA’s chief executive officer, John Hutchinson, said they were aware that some streets did not have adequate lights.

“I acknowledge that and we are working on it,” he said.

He said FRA had a programme to rectify the lack of proper street lights.

“We can’t solve 30 or 40 years of neglect overnight,” he said.

Edited by Naisa Koroi



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