In a message to youth activist Peter Waqavonovono, who has been campaigning against military human rights violations and who was himself assaulted by soldiers on Christmas Eve, Rounds-Ganilau said Sakiusa Rabaka’s death should not have happened.
“I truly am sorry, in fact I'm devastated. It shouldn't have happened and this cannot happen again,” said Rounds-Ganilau. She said interim Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum would make a statement on the death on behalf of the interim government.
Waqavonovono told Intelligentsiya in an email today that he has been “bombarding” Rounds-Ganilau and interim Youth Minister Adi Laufitu Malani with “requests to do something” about the continued abuse of human rights by the military.
“Human rights abuses must stop,” Waqavonovono said. “Most citizens taken into military custody are youths and youths are the vulnerable members of society. And during these times youths should be consulted and not abused and humiliated.”
“I consider Sakuisa a hero. And for generations to come he will be remembered
for what he went through and how he followed through till the very end. I have been touched by his story right from the start. When we visited him in the hospital, I thought that he was in a bad shape, but he had a strong will.”
Sakiusa’s story was first reported on Intelligentsiya. He was arrested by six soldiers and a policeman on January 28 for what the police said was possession of marijuana and taken to the army barracks in Nadi where they were made to strip naked, carry heavy sacks and run up a hill. All the while they were being beaten.
Sakiusa returned home early the next morning badly injured and later in the week started developing headaches. He was taken to Nadi hospital, then Lautoka and then to
He returned to Nadi last week after he was discharged. But on Saturday he collapsed while with friends and was taken to Nadi hospital where he died. His death was also first reported on Intelligentsiya late on Saturday night.
Sakiusa’s mother, Alanieta, before his death and during his admission in hospital that he was “at the wrong place at the wrong time” and was about to start a course in hospitality studies.
“Yet another murder…the killing continues,” somebody wrote in a comment on Intelligentsiya. “No prizes (for) what Berandette will now say when ‘sorry’ was all she could manage when responding to the senseless beatings this young man endured at the hands of RFMF rogue thugs who dare still call themselves soldiers.
And finally, from a poster claiming to be Sakiusa’s brother: “Thank you for sharing my brother's story. We his family around the world are able to know the loss of our beloved brother. I hope that the citizens of
Sakiusa’s death brings to two (publicly acknowledged) the number of people who have died at the hands of military personnel.
Nimilote Verebasaga of