Slain Tongan student’s family accept apology from Nauruan ambassador

Kiliki: heni ke ke lau e ongoongo ni he lea faka-Tonga

The brother of slain Tongan student Sione Tufui in Fiji has told a number of mourners at his deceased brother’s prayer service to “… look forward to forgive” and conccentrate on the reason why they came to Fiji, “it is to start a journey to grow as young leaders and to study hard in order to return and help” their “parents and communities back in Tonga”.

The Tufuis were both students at the University of the South Pacific.

Sione was a second-year student studying a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems and Physics while Tupou was a third year student.

The 22-year-old, was allegedly killed Saturday morning 21 by a group of Nauruan high school students in a night club in Suva.

Five Nauruan secondary school students are in police custody in relation to Tufui’s death, Police Chief of Operations, ACP Rusiate Tudravu said.

Dr Robin Havea from the university said Tufui’s body will be leaving Nadi tomorrow Friday 27 through Auckland before arriving in Tonga on Saturday.

Dr Havea told Kaniva News he will be in Tonga to represent the university in Tufui’s funeral.

Tupou was with his deceased brother on the night of the incident but returned home before the fight happened. He only became aware of his brother’s death after he received a call from hospital at 2am.  

The Fiji-based Tongan community has gathered at Api Tonga for failotu (prayers) since Sunday night and it is continuing until the deceased will be taken to Nadi to be returned to Tonga.

‘Eleni Tevi, secretary for the Tongan community told Kaniva news the Nauruan community was represented in the failotu by a group of Nauruans led by the Nauruan ambassador to Fiji.

She said the ambassador, accompanied by his wife, apologised at the failotu and it was embraced by the victim’s brother.  

"When I called my parents today they told me, Tupou if you have forgiven them in your heart then we have forgiven them too”, Tupou said in response to the ambassador’s statement of apology.  

He said in Tongan according to Tevi: “I stand today to represent my family in accepting this plea for forgiveness from the Nauruan Ambassador and the Nauruan community because I wish to send out a message to all our Tongan students:

“We do not look back to what had happened and try to pursue revenge but look forward to forgive and refocus our values to why we are really here in Fiji; and it is to start a journey to grow as young leaders and to study hard in order to return and help our parents and communities back in Tonga.

 “They long every day for our return with great pride and hope to that day we will return to relieve them of their long-standing daily struggles in trying to make ends meet back home so that we are educated to return one day to help make life easier for them.

“This Saturday I will take my deceased brother back home to our parents and mourn with them a lost dream, but I hope that in this lost dream we will all learn a great lesson as students not to be here for all the wrong reasons. I stand together tonight with the Tongan community's clear message to urge all students to refrain from any further violence and refocus our priorities to help our community and not to destroy it!".  

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