29 Jun 2005

Fiji police search for three girls in presumed kidnapping case

2:18 pm on 29 June 2005

Fiji police have mounted a major search for three ethnic Indian sisters they believe were kidnapped at sea by a group of indigenous Fijian men.

The teenagers, from a farming family near Rakiraki, have been missing since they went fishing with a male family friend last Sunday.

A police spokesperson, Constable Prashila Narayan, says Ashika Sherin Lata, aged 19, Renuka Roshni Lata, aged 18 and Radhika Roshni Lata, aged 17, were in a dinghy in open waters off Malake Island near Rakiraki when they were kidnapped.

Constable Narayan says the 42-year-old friend alleges he was knocked unconscious during the incident.

"He was found alone in the boat and then he informed the family that he was assaulted by three Fijians. They came in another boat, they attacked him and then he was unconscious and the three girls were taken away from him."

A police forensic team has dusted the victims' boat and searched Malake Island for clues.

Police have not ruled out the possibility that the missing girls have been murdered.

A team of 26 police officers are working on the case.