Family want to meet Vanuatu murder-accused

Family want to meet Vanuatu murder-accused

The family of a young man who was stabbed and left to die on a roadside in Vanuatu say they want to meet the teenager who has been charged over his death.

Ned Lowe, whose Kiwi father owns a holiday resort on Tanna Island, is charged with murdering 18-year-old Roger Kamisak.

The killing has been followed by a series of arson attacks on the family's resort.

A decorated burial site on family land marks the final resting place of a much-loved son, brother and colleague. Mr Kamisak was the victim of a brutal killing – an inexplicable murder his family can't comprehend.

"My brother always shared everything with me. He always made me happy. I remember my brother as a good person," says Sabrina Kamisak.

In the place of postcard-perfect settings, the killing of an 18-year-old charity worker has shocked and divided the community.

"To have Roger gone like this, for the mother especially, I saw her. She was really not happy; she was just crying. She was just crying. She can't even say a word," says Sylvain Malsungai.

She was speechless because of the callous nature of the attack. Mr Kamisak had spent a night drinking beer with workmates from the charity Care International. It was a night of celebration. But by the morning, he was dead.

Those who saw his body say the injuries were horrific. He'd been beaten and stabbed. His body was dumped on the side of the road.

"They stab him. I can't explain to you. The head was, I don't have those pictures. But it's really bad. If you see the pictures, you won't sleep at night," says Ms Malsungai.

Police arrested another 18-year-old, Lowe, for the murder. He was seen collecting Mr Kamisak in a four-wheel drive on the night of his death.

His Kiwi father owns a popular tourist lodge on the island.

Lowe's father and the owner of the lodge, Hugh Lowe, says his son was close friends with the victim, and he's adamant his son is innocent.

After the funeral, in reprisal, friends of the deceased set upon the lodge, torching five beachside bungalows.

Just three weeks later, they returned with Molotov cocktails to finish the job. Guests had to be evacuated, but witnesses say police took little action.

"What did the police do when this was on fire? They were here but they were scared. They just wear the uniform, but were not active to stop the people," says village chief Jeffery Laruel.

Police have now sent reinforcements to the island as tensions continue to simmer.

But the grieving family of Mr Kamisak just want an explanation, and they want to hear from Lowe himself. 

"I've heard from other people that Ned did this to my brother, but we have not heard from Ned himself. We still don't have the answers and we want to know. We want Ned to come and tell us the truth," says Sabrina Kamisak.

Police believe they know the truth and say they've arrested the right man.

Exactly what evidence they have against Lowe will be heard in court in a few weeks' time. 

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