5 Apr 2019

Kiribati ferry victims' families at odds with NGO

4:03 pm on 5 April 2019

A group representing the families of victims of Kiribati's Butiraoi ferry tragedy has broken ties with an NGO that had been working with them.

Some of the seven survivors shortly after being rescued.

Some of the seven survivors shortly after being rescued Photo: Facebook/ @RadioKiribati

The Butiraoi sank more than 14 months ago with the loss of at least 80 people, most from the atoll of Nonouti travelling to Tarawa.

The Kiribati Citizens Against Corruption (KCAC) recently announced that it had secured the services of a New Zealand lawyer, amid plans to sue the government for gross negligence.

But Kabuanibwai ae Rotaki Maiuia kain Nonouti (KRMN), or Tragedy that Affects Lives, spokesperson Koreea Aneli, said they appreciated the corruption group's gesture but said there were some cultural protocols that had not been followed.

Ms Aneli said KRMN was a body set up by the families on the island and they had expected more cooperation and partnership with the NGO.

She said this had not been happening and the corruption group's leader was continuously using social media to talk about the case without consulting the families.

Ms Aneli said the families found this culturally inappropriate.

She said because the KCAC had not fully explained everything to them, they felt it would be better to speak directly to the lawyer rather than through a third person.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs