It’s better we err on the side of caution

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 04 October 2018, 12:00AM

An issue of critical importance, especially in relation to the protection of young girls, has been raised this week. It has naturally sent out a wave of panic across the nation. 

The truth is that we really don’t know enough to draw any conclusions at this stage. What we do know is that the alarm had been raised on social media by concerned members of the public until Tuesday night when the Police announced they have launched an investigation into claims of an alleged abduction attempt.

According to the Police, a white Toyota 15 seater van, with blue stripes at the bottom, tinted windows and broken rear windshield window, was used for the attempted abduction.

 “S.P.S. takes this matter seriously and is asking members of the public to report any sighting of a van with similar description above or any mechanic workshop receiving recent request for replacement of rear windshield window of a 15 seater van,” the Police said. 

“Furthermore, S.P.S. also reminds parents to be vigilant and ensure safety of young children by ensuring that they are accompanied by an adult at night time when walking on the road.” 

“S.P.S. also encourages the public to report any matter of suspicious nature to a police station near you or telephone 22222.”

Well we join the Police today in reinforcing this message. It’s better we err on the side of caution than to be ignorant of a threat we might later regret.

On the front page of the newspaper you are reading, Liua Vaasili Savaiinaea, the man who apparently rescued two girls from the attempted abductors, tells his story. The alleged abduction occurred at Falelauniu.

 “On my way home, I took a short cut around that area and I came through one of the roads that is opposite from a tyre repair at Safune road at Vaitele,” he tells us today.

“I was aware about a van that is going around looking for young girls but I didn’t think something was going to happen there.”

“So I came through that road and while coming down a small hill, I saw from afar a white van parked next to a bush there, and I know there are no families in that particular area.” 

“I didn’t really notice it and I didn’t think that this was the van that is allegedly going around Vaitele looking for young girls.”

Savaiinaea said he heard the voices of screaming girls when he approached the van and saw two men struggling to push two girls into the vehicle.

“As I came closer to the van, I heard voices of girls screaming and that’s when I saw two guys, trying to pull two girls inside their car, but the girls were fighting these two guys,” he said.

“I quickly jumped on the side of the road, picked up some rocks and started throwing against the van and I was running as well. The first rock hit the back window of the car and it broke, and that’s when I saw a female jump inside the van. So it was a female and two males that were trying to push the girls inside the van.”

Well you’ve read the rest of the story now. 

Take it for what it’s worth and decide for yourself. But like we’ve said, it is better we err on the side of caution. 

Now this is not the first time we’ve heard such stories. Over the years, we’ve been hearing similar stories but then they eventually fizzle out and disappear.

This one sounds a lot more serious. 

And if Liua is to be believed, everyone needs to be on alert, especially parents. In other words, this should also be a wake up call for all of us about the need to protect innocent lives. Parents especially need to educate their children on some very basic rules to protect themselves.  One of them is the obvious one that they should not talk to strangers. Period.

As much as we’d like to think that Samoa is safe, not everyone is the same. And there are some very sick people out there.

The protection of our children is ultimately the responsibility of parents. It means we need to be more vigilant and pay more attention on their whereabouts given these alarming reports.

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 04 October 2018, 12:00AM

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