Police in Santo have confirmed that a family on Santo had their home razed by fire on Wednesday, January 2, 2019.
Reports received say a young couple — Bill Stephen and his family who live in Tanavoli village, south Santo lost their home and all their belongings after a group of people from Jaraland village allegedly set their house on fire, destroyed their kitchen and damaged their belongings.
Stephen claimed the attackers allegedly first threatened him in his home on December 13, 2018, before confronting him again on the afternoon of January 2 and threatened him, saying they will come back later in the night to burn down his house.
He moved out after receiving the threats and later that night the group arrived, he sent his children to hide in the bushes and saw his house go up in flames.
Stephen has provided a list of suspects to the police.
Commander Chief Inspector Rexton Langon from SANMA Patrol confirmed an investigation is underway and there are potential suspects, but witnesses must be interrogated with a further investigation of the crime scene before conclusions can be drawn.
Stephen is the eldest son of Salathiel Dule Stephen, a descendant from the Chiefly family line of Chief Sokamele, who is a paramount chief of Sulnun, South Santo.
There are other claimants to the Sulnun customary land, despite the decision Village Land Tribunal of area2 of South Santo which was discussed at the Sanma Chiefs Nakamal on 17th June to 14 July 2008, where the “Sulnun Customary Land Decision” was declared to Bill Stephen’s family.
In 2009, other claimants challenged the decision but the appeal was again in favour of Stephen’s family.
The most recent claimant is from Jaraland village.