Paul Karuka, 21, of Kivori-Kui in Kairuku District of Central Province, is the alleged murderer of James Ikupu, 32, of the same village. Karuka is a year 12 student at Mainohana Secondary School in the Central Province.
It was alleged that on December 22nd, 2018, village youths, including the suspect and victim, were consuming alcohol. The suspect and the victim were cousin brothers. Whilst drinking a fight broke out between the youths and the suspect allegedly murdered the victim.
Karuka went into hiding after he allegedly committed the crime.
However, his family believes surrendering him to police is the only way to help him, so they asked Philip Vaki, the Director for a Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Ministry, called Operation Food for Life, to facilitate their son’s surrender.
His aunt, Margaret Ume, surrendered the suspect to police saying the family was doing this to ensure there was peace in the village.
“We realised there’s so much law and order problem in the village where we come from and when this happened, we did not want to harbour him because then we are not helping him and also we do not feel safe,” said Mrs Ume.
“So we believe bringing him here for the law to take its course is for the good of all of us and also for peace to prevail amongst both families.”
Rural Commander Sergeant Jack Wesil commended the family and the SDA church for their initiative to encourage the young man to surrender to police.
Officer in Charge for Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of Central Province, Detective Sergeant Raymond Boyamo, was very pleased because the surrender eases the work of the CID and allows the case to run smoothly.
“Cases like these where a family brings in a suspect rarely happens and this case is very helpful. It also gives peace to the deceased’s family knowing the suspect is now in police custody,” stated Boyamo.
He said communities must work in partnership with police to deter crime and create a safe and secure environment for all.
(Margaret Ume with her brother, left, Operation Food for Life members and police personnel after handing Paul Karuka over)