Three missing Tongan fishermen welcomed in Suva

Vakai ki lalo ki he fakamatala faka-Tonga

A Tongan formal reception was held this afternoon in Suva to mark the handing over of three Tongan fishermen who went missing on July 30.

‘Elone  Taulafo, his son Sione Taulafo and  his son-in-law Sofele Folau were found alive at Oneata island in the Lau group in Fiji on August 6 after their return was overdue.

Fiji authorities said divers from the island found the trio swimming near Oneata.

Since then they had been staying on the island waiting to be transported to Lakeba Island where a Fiji police rescue team took them to Suva this morning.

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The Secretary for the Tongan community in Suva, ‘Eleni Tevi, told Kaniva News this afternoon she has met the three fishermen.

“I went this morning to the wharf with the head steward of ApiTonga, Kisione Finau to receive them, but the Oneata community asked if they can have a formal traditional handover of the three men to the Tongan community,” Tevi said.

She said they acknowledged the Oneata community by presenting kava to their chiefs in a faikava (kava ceremony) attended by the Tongan community in Suva.

Tevi was thankful and said people of Oneata have taken good care of the men  for more than three weeks and accompanied them to Suva on the MV Sandy.

Fiji Foreign Affairs and Immigration are in the process of making arrangement for the return of the men to Tonga.

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