Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Villager Killer Still Out & About

War of words on camp death

A war of words broke out last night between the military and the village that lost a son who died while in army custody. Villagers of Nakaulevu still feel uneasy because, they said, one of the alleged killers of Nimilote Verebasaga continues to roam free. Village spokesman Timoci Talaki said the main suspect behind Nimilote’s death still roamed the street of Nausori. This was despite rumours that the suspected killer was taken by the military when police wanted to question him. However, Republic of Fiji Military Forces spokesman Major Neumi Leweni flatly denied that the army had prevented the police from interviewing the man. “I cannot make further comments until investigations are completed,” he said. However, Major Leweni said rumours that the military had taken the same man when police wanted to question him about the murder were totally untrue. Mr Verebasaga’s family commemorated the traditional 50 nights of mourning since he died in January.

“We still see him (the alleged suspect) enjoying himself every day in town like nothing serious has happened and we wonder how long it will take for justice to prevail,” said Mr Talaki. “We haven’t heard any explanation from anyone on the progress of the investigation but we hope that good sense will prevail.”

Mr Talaki said the authorities had forgotten about Mr Verebasaga and the way he was treated. He said the village and especially Mr Verebasaga’s family deserved a suitable explanation from authorities. Mr Verebasaga’s mourning period came to an end last week with close relatives attending to show their respect to his family at Nakaulevu village in Tailevu. Mr Verebasaga was taken by military from his home and later died while in military custody.

The Fiji Human Rights Commission has assured Mfr Verebasaga’s family that investigations into his death will continue. Mr Verebasaga is survived by his wife, Asinate, and three children.

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