NEWS

5-Year-Old Boy Dies During Funeral

This is the first case of drowning in the past two weeks.
30 Oct 2020 12:39
5-Year-Old Boy Dies During Funeral
Meli Yasawa with his wife Lusiana Tuiraloga showing a photo of their son, Mitieli Namuka at their home in Natoaika Village Photo: Shalveen Chand. Inset: Mitieli Namuka.

Sounds of people wailing filled the air around Natoaika Village in Naitasiri yesterday as the body of five-year-old Mitieli Namuka was shown to relatives.

This is the first case of drowning in the past two weeks. The last drowning case was on October 12, 2020, where a three-year-old child  from Nakorotubu, Ra, drowned in a container of water.

On Wednesday, Mitieli, also known as ‘Miti’, had allegedly slipped and fell into the Rewa River as the villagers, including  Miti’s mother and father, were attending a funeral.

The village of Natoaika sits on the banks of the Rewa River.

Villagers stood by the riverbank to watch the Police officers transport the body of Mitieli Namuka across the river to the mortuary in Wainibokasi. Photo: Shalveen Chand

Villagers stood by the riverbank to watch the Police officers transport the body of Mitieli Namuka across the river to the mortuary in Wainibokasi. Photo: Shalveen Chand

It was around 4pm yesterday, when the body was brought to the village to confirm the identity of the boy, before being taken to the morgue.

Mum, Lusiana Tuiraloga, 27, was in complete shock. She wailed loudly as the body of her only child was taken away in a boat.

The entire village community too was in shock because on Wednesday, they buried a young man and lost a child in the river as well.

Mitieli’s grandmother had not stopped crying since the time the child went missing.

Mitieli Namuka

Mitieli Namuka

The boy’s father, Meli Yasawa, 35, was distraught, but he held himself together.

“God gave him to us and now God has taken him away from us,” Mr Yasawa said.

“There was a funeral in the village yesterday (Wednesday). We were attending the funeral.

“Miti was playing with other children. His mother came running to me saying Miti was missing. We asked around and were informed that he had slipped into the river from the small jetty.”

Mr Yasawa and relatives spent the entire day and night searching for Miti’s body.

Mr Yasawa and his family had moved to his wife’s village, Natoaika two months ago. Until then, the family was staying in Lautoka where Mr Yasawa was working.

Police will conduct an autopsy examination today.

The current drowning toll is 35 compared to 29 for the same period last year.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj



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