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Raiwai Terror

“The fact that children were there at their own homes and witnessing the attack, every curious child would want to go out and see.”
15 Aug 2022 12:04
Raiwai Terror
Police officers transport the vehicle that was part of the early morning attack against a group of youths in Raiwai on August 14, 2022. Photo: Leon Lord

It was like watching a violent movie scene. This was how the residents of Nairai Road in Raiwai described the violent behaviour that unfolded yesterday morning.

Several said they were traumatised. Women and children of the neighbourhood watched in shock as a group of young men got off a black prius vehicle and tried to enter the housing estate in Raiwai armed with knives to confront a group of men in the area.

This was when the scuffle and terrifying violence erupted. According to residents, the men who came in the black prius vehicle were overpowered and one was admitted in hospital severely injured.

Fiji Police Force chief operations officer, ACP Abdul Khan, said they would ensure that those involved would be arrested and face the consequences of their actions.

The damage to a vehicle as a result of the brawl in Raiwai, Suva on August 14, 2022.

The damage to a vehicle as a result of the brawl in Raiwai, Suva on August 14, 2022. Photo: Leon Lord

“Investigators are pursuing some leads, we can confirm that a group of youths from Nabua allegedly had the intention of confronting and instigating violence against a group of youths from Raiwai,” ACP Khan said.

“The Nabua youths, who were allegedly armed, turned up to the scene with the intention of instigating a fight because they were angry about an incident that transpired during a gathering the night before.

“The group were however outnumbered and fled the scene in another vehicle, which was later found abandoned in Nabua.

“Teams of officers from the Southern and Central Divisions pursued the getaway vehicle, while officers at the Raiwaqa Police Station responded when backup from the K9 and Police Special Response Unit arrived.”

ACP Khan added all the suspects were 19 years old.

 

Traumatised Community

A resident who had asked not to be named, for fear of reprisals, said she was left with a disturbing experience that took place right before her eyes.

“A group of men came in a vehicle and attacked the boys who were near my house,” she said.

“A few boys from here were sitting on the footpath and they said good morning to the men who disembarked the vehicle carrying knives and weapons.”

“The Raiwai boys picked whatever they got hold of to protect themselves.”

Fortunately, none of the boys from here was injured, but one of the five intruders was taken to the hospital.

“Police have done enough, but would be grateful for more patrols in the area.”

Alleged weaponry found in the vehicle. Photos: Leon Lord

Alleged weaponry found in the vehicle. Photos: Leon Lord

Eyewitness

Duavata Taxis operator Luisa Morel said it was the first time she witnessed such a scene.

“I’ve been working here for 15 years and what I saw was frightening. This morning I heard a sound like someone was dismantling a house, but instead it was a car being damaged,” Ms Morel said.

“A lot of people had gathered and that was when I called the Raiwaqa Police Station at exactly 7.23am.”

 

From outside the station the Police could see where the brawl was happening. After 15 minutes a Police vehicle went to the scene, but by that time the brawl had cooled down and someone was lying on the edge of the road.

“We saw that as soon as the Police vehicle arrived at the scene, they carried the injured man and took him to the hospital. He was badly injured,” she said.

The distance from Raiwaqa Police Station to where the incident occurred is two to five minutes’ walk away. In June, a similar incident took place at McFarlane Road in Raiwai, also on a Sunday morning.

The damage to a vehicle as a result of the brawl in Raiwai, Suva on August 14, 2022.

The damage to a vehicle as a result of the brawl in Raiwai, Suva on August 14, 2022.

Street Violence Creates Unsafe Space for Children

Psychologist, Selina Kuruleca has said such incidents created an unsafe environment for children. She said children learn the most from behaviours they see around them.

She advised parents and guardians to talk to children who witnessed the incident that such acts were not how conflicts are resolved.

As evident in the video of the Raiwai incident that had gone viral on social media, children were seen nearby watching the attack unfold.

 

“Everybody has the right to feel safe in their own homes and neighbourhood, and defend their own properties,” Ms Kuruleca said.

“The fact that children were there at their own homes and witnessing the attack, every curious child would want to go out and see.”

She suggested people look back at traditional channels of leadership, traditional laws that used to exist and also look at religion.

“We have the Fiji Finals (CocaCola games), and if people can’t control their temper or what anger issues are going on, we need to call for a wider community ‘Talanoa’ session or ‘Veivakasavasava taki’ (reconciliation),” she said.

 

Feedback: wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj



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