BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
TWO men in their late 30s are in police custody over alleged rape incidents of two 12-year-old twin sisters in Sikaiana island, Malaita Outer Islands, it is reported.
The first incident reportedly took place during the Easter festive season, and the other allegedly occurred two weeks later.
The second incident was reported by Island Sun in its issue 2877, and on April 18 a group of police officers and humanitarian workers including a nurse embarked on the patrol boat for Sikaiana.
According to sources, the team arrived at Sikaiana on April 19 with the initial mission to arrest one suspect alleged of rape, however, they were informed of another rape allegation in which the victim is the twin sister of the first reported victim.
Thus, police made two arrests.
“The unreported alleged rape incident took place in the Easter week and was not reported earlier because the victim was living under the guardianship of the accused, hence she was scared to report him for fear of retaliatory action by the suspect,” Island Sun sources say.
The sources further that the second incident had become public knowledge because the victim was living with her grandmother and openly related her experience when queried of her injuries.
Island Sun understands that the two victims have been brought over to Honiara for trauma counselling on Sunday, April 22.
The suspects, both married men, were also brought over to Honiara on the same day, and are reportedly in police custody.
Police media confirmed to Island Sun last night that the suspects are in police custody, however declined to comment further.
“An official police press statement will be released soon regarding this matter,” police media personnel said.
Meanwhile, the community House of Chiefs in Sikaiana is calling for a police post to be set up on the island.
House of chiefs spokesperson says police presence on the isolated community is critical to maintain law and order, and also to serve as a deterrent to crime.
“Crime cases have occurred but no one reports because of fear amongst the community themselves.
“But if a police post is being set up then definitely crime cases will be reported, or potential perpetrators will fear the police and refrain from committing crime freely.”
The spokesperson says the population on Sikaiana island is growing, and so too are unlawful incidents.