The Deputy Prime Minister, Joe Natuman, is offering a reward for valid information leading to the capture of thugs that assaulted a French female tourist at Lololima Cascades last week.
Natuman has instructed the Acting Commissioner of Police to urgently investigate the incident and have the culprits held accountable for their shameless actions.
Condemning the incident, Natuman who is also Minister for Tourism stated, “This incident cannot be happening and especially at a time when the Government, the Private Sector and the Tourism industry are on the verge of opening ‘Toktok Vanuatu, which is naturally the biggest event organised to showcase our tourism products and services to the wholesalers, travel agents and writers”.
The tourism minister said he is “disgusted and condemned in its highest form” to read the news about the incident whereby a tourist on holiday and enjoying what the country offers was beaten and robbed of her belongings.
“I wish to condemn this brutal and cowardly act by those involved as this is not the attitude of the people of this country who have been well-known for their friendliness and smiles and were voted twice the happiest place on earth as per the Happy Planet Index.”
Natuman also condemned the outrageous actions of a tour guide who attacked and raped another expat woman who was with him in Santo bush early this month.
Meanwhile, Swiss Diplomats are providing protection and assistance to a community worker who was attacked in Northern Santo.
On Tuesday, the Daily Post reported that the female expat, a Swiss passport holder, had been brutally assaulted, raped and abandoned in the bush by a knife-wielding assailant during a mountain hiking trip from Big Bay to the North West Coast of Santo.
Northern District police have taken a suspect, whom the Daily Post cannot name for legal reasons, into custody. The suspect will be facing a magistrate on the 2nd of September for a preliminary inquiry.
Sandra Cadien, a senior Swiss diplomat who is the Swiss Consul and Head of Chancery at the Swiss Consulate General in the Australian city of Sydney, Australia, told the Daily Post that Swiss officials were providing assistance.
“The Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs has knowledge of the assault of a Swiss citizen in Vanuatu and is granting consular protection to this compatriot.”
The Swiss Consulate General in Sydney, and the Swiss Embassy in Canberra are also responsible for relations with Vanuatu, and other Pacific Island states.
Consul Cadien did not specify exactly what assistance is being provided or whether Swiss diplomats would travel to Vanuatu to attend the trial of the suspect. She explained, “For reasons of data and persons [sic] protection, I cannot give you any additional information.”