NATION

Vuci Rd Brawl Scare

A furious mother has condemned the actions of thugs who assaulted her innocent 14-year-old son.
27 May 2022 16:00
Vuci Rd Brawl Scare
Karalaini Tuitubou on May 26, 2022, comforts her son Kitione Levaci, 14, who was allegedly assaulted in Kuku, Tailevu. Photo: Leon Lord

A furious mother has con­demned the actions of thugs who assaulted her innocent 14-year-old son.

It was around 7pm on Wednesday when Kitione Levaci was sent by his mother to buy diapers from the nearby canteen.

He lives at Vuci Road and had just moved in with his family in Decem­ber from Lami.

But what was supposed to be an easy trip to the shop turned trau­matising for the 14-year-old when he was caught in a crossfire, a rivalry between two groups (Vuci Road and Lobau) in the area, a Po­lice report said.

Kitione was met with some 50 men, many he described could have been well over 30 years old.

Kuku resident Ted Simone, 15, on May 26, 2022, shows a tool that was  allegedly used as a weapon during the attack.  Photo: Leon Lord

Kuku resident Ted Simone, 15, on May 26, 2022, shows a tool that was
allegedly used as a weapon during the attack. Photo: Leon Lord

He was dragged across the road from the shop to a bus stop (Nad­uru bus stop) where he was beaten up by some of the members.

Kitione said he had no idea why he was victimised but in the nick of time, his mother came to the rescue after some members had thrown a few punches at him.

Just as his mother, Karalaini Tuitubou, began shouting at the members and almost falling into the same demise as her son, Police arrived and intervened.

One suspect, a juvenile, Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho said, was in cus­tody.

The rest were dispersed.

The altercation is said to have begun three weeks ago on the back of a big gathering in town when two different groups began drink­ing in the area.

It was said the drinking escalated into a brawl where one faction got hurt in the process and sought re­venge.

It then further intensified when a phone from one of the factions went missing last week and it was blamed on the other faction.

Kitione’s identity is said to have been mistaken with another boy, from the rivalry group, and as a result assaulted.

Kitione shares the same first name as the boy whose phone was allegedly stolen and beaten up by the opposite faction.

Kitione recalled: “As soon as they sat me down, two of them threw a punch each, one to my left cheek while the other punched my mouth.

“I could not see the rest of the men who beat me up because I was covering my face with my hands.”

He said the boy who tipped the opposite faction was from a friend he met at the recent gathering in the area.

“They dragged me like I was nothing,” Kitione said.

He said he did not know any of them.

His mother, Karalaini Tuitubou, stood up to the group of men to de­fend her son.

She helplessly shouted at them to stop preying on young children.

Ms Tuitubou said she had never been in a position where men were bullying a young boy.

Men, she said, could have been father figures were part of the group.

“It was really dangerous stand­ing among a group of men who cheered on young boys to fight,” she said.

“I was so furious. I could not be­lieve that that could happen to us especially when we are new in this area.”

She said she was about to be surrounded by the group of men when the Police arrived.

“They (Police) managed to calm the situation down,” she said.

She has lodged a report at the Nausori Police Station.

Brigadier-General Qiliho, said: “The youths who were there were from Lami and they had nothing to do with it.

“We currently have one person in custody that we are currently pur­suing leads on.”

Monday incident

In a Monday incident, Arimin Lata and her family were also caught in a crossfire involving the same factions, she claimed.

For 12 years, Ms Lata, has been living in Naduru in what she con­sidered a peaceful area.

However, after seeing new faces wandering in the area three weeks ago, she said her insecurity built up.

She claimed that about 20 peo­ple took items, including pieces of wood, window frames, a pipe wrench from her house and threw it at their so-called rivalry faction.

“They made a lot of noise and were running and shouting,” she said.

She fears that the group of young men might come into her com­pound again and fight.

“I have never been so afraid in all my life while living here.

“What are we supposed to do?” she questioned.

Ms Lata is pleading with Police to ramp up presence in the area for their safety.

Police investigation on the mat­ter continues.

Feedback: josefa.babitu@fijisun.com.fj



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