Soldiers farewell: Fīnau’s coffin carried by comrades

It was a fitting send off for a soldier who had promised to give his life for Tonga and continue to defend the country.

His coffin was surrounded by military officials led by the Commander of His Majesty’s Armed Forces Lord Fielakepa, along with HSH Prince Tuʻipelehake and hundreds of mourners who gathered to pay their respects  to Sioeli ʻAholelei Finau at the church where his funeral was held today.

The former Royal Marine Cadet Officer’s coffin was carried by his comrades and loaded it onto a military truck before it was taken to its resting place at Maluamapa Cemetery.

Fīnau, 24, was stabbed to death during a street brawl in Nukuʻalofa on July 11. A 25-year-old suspect from Kolofoʻou was arrested and was in Police custody in relation to Fīnau’s death.

Mourners stood in silent as the military truck carrying their loved one passed while relatives wept as they followed the coffin into the cemetary, and supported each other as they walked along.

His family described his funeral and farewell as full of military honours in emotional but dignified services.

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