Police investigate two suspects over Muitoa horrific beating

UPDATED: Haʻapai Police are investigating after a 12-year-old was allegedly abducted and horrifically beaten  by two men in their 20s  in Muitoa, Kauvai Island, Haʻapai on August 29

Tonga’s Police Commissioner Steve Caldwell has confirmed this to Kaniva News this afternoon.

“The mother made her complaint to the local police this morning.  Two youths have been identified as the suspects and police are making active inquiries to find them,” Caldwell said.

Talaiasi Tauʻatāina Lātū was hospitalised in Niuʻui Hospital after he was allegedly beaten with a machete and a piece of timber.

Photos obtained by Kaniva News show the boy’s buttocks and upper part of his legs covered in swelling and bruising.

The complaint to Police comes after the mother, Lesieli Latu said yesterday she has not decided whether to prosecute his son’s attackers because they know each other and she also considered the way they lived as villagers in the island.

However she wrote on Kaniva News’ Facebook page this morning and said she has launched the complaint after her son could clearly explained to her what had actually happened.

Talaiasi  was taken to hospital and was released on Saturday night with a medical report to be taken to Police.

A copy of the medical report on the Ministry of Health letterhead was sent to us by the victim’s mother Lesieli Latu.

The letter says Talaiasi was admitted to hospital on August 29.

According to Lesieli, the medical officer who attended Talaiasi at Niu’ui Hospital claimed parts of the boy’s flesh where he had been hit were smashed.

Alleged abduction

The mother said the men met Talaisi on his way home on the road.

They allegedly forced him into nearby bush where one man beat him with the machete and the piece of timber while the other man held his hands and mouth so that no one could hear him crying.

Lesieli said the duo claimed they beat her son because they found him smoking.

She said after the beating she saw her son limping on his way home. She said she could tell by the way he was limping that something terribly wrong with him.

When Talaiasi arrived he told his mother the tragedy he came through.

She said his son was taken to the local nurse on the island.

“She advised us to take him to hospital otherwise the injuries would become aching and the child could suffer convulsion as he was too young to receive such horrific beatings,” Lesieli said

She said they hired a dinghy to take her son to Pangai on the main island of Lifuka where the hospital Niu’ui is.

“It may have been better that they killed him rather than torturing him like that,” she said.

Lesieli said when she saw her son’s condition she determined she would definitely take legal action against the two men.

However, she said she had second thoughts when she considered how they lived and helped each other in the village.

She said she had yet to make a decision about whether or not she would talk to Police about the two men.

Kaniva News has sent photos of the incident to the Police Commissioner, Steve Caldwell and requested that he comments on the matter.  We are still waiting for his response.

Violence against children is not uncommon in Tonga. Earlier this week we reported on an attack on a young girl and in 2013 the media reported on the beating of a group of teenagers.

The main points

  • A 12-year-old boy was hospitalised in Ha’apai after he was allegedly abducted yesterday (August 29) by two men in their 20s and horrifically beaten with a machete and a piece of timber.
  • The boy was attacked in bush neat the village of Muitoa, at Kauvai Island in Ha’apai.
  • Photos obtained by Kaniva News show the boy’s buttock and upper part of his legs covered in swelling and bruising.
  • However, despite the beating, his mother has not decided whether to prosecute his attackers.

For more information

Tongan teenagers beaten at school

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