A 12-year old girl has been allegedly raped by a man in his late 30s in the island of Sikaiana early this week.
Accounts from locals say currently they are afraid to apprehend the man, who is part Sikaiana and Liuania (Lord Howe islands), and are anticipating police to accompany the next ship to the island to arrest him.
It is also not known when the next ship is scheduled for Sikaiana.
And, for the time-being, the suspect is reported to be roaming the island scot-free, much to the dismay of members of a shocked community.
Speaking to Island Sun, a person who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal from the suspect’s relatives, say the girl is receiving medical attention and recovering under the ‘24-hour care’ of her grandmother and relatives.
“This is not the first rape incident by the suspect, as he has been reported among the community to have carried out the horrible act on several other girls and women in the past,” the person said.
The person adds that the culture of keeping silent over such taboo incidents has prevented the reporting of such acts by the community to the police.
“Making it worse is the fact that there is no police station in Sikaiana. Everyone depends on mutual respect and common understanding for peaceful co-existing, but when such incidents occur there is no mechanism in place to punish perpetrators and send out the message to deter them happening in the future.
“Everybody knows the country has a police force, but taking into account the isolation of Sikaiana, this notion is of no comfort to people in the community.
“So it is imperative that police come in the patrol boat and arrest the suspect, and not wait for the next scheduled ship and send an officer to do it.”
It is understood that the incident has been reported to the police by the girl’s mother who is residing in Honiara.
Seif Pleis has also been reportedly informed of the incident.
People living on Sikaiana are calling on the police to act quickly and arrest the suspect.
Sikaiana is the second group of islets which make up the Malaita Outer Islands constituency of Malaita province, and is situated 212 kilometres (132 miles) NE of Malaita.