29 Jun 2005

Fiji police searching for three missing teenagers

6:45 am on 29 June 2005

Fiji police have mounted a major search for three teenage sisters missing since they were reportedly kidnapped at sea last Sunday.

The three ethnic Indian girls aged 17, 18 and 19 from a farming family near Rakiraki had gone fishing with a 42-year old male family friend from their neighbourhood.

But the man returned alone and reported that they were attacked at sea by a group of men who kidnapped the girls while they were in open waters off Malake Island near Rakiraki.

A police forensic team has dusted the victims' boat and searched Malake Island for clues.

Maureen Lata, the distraught mother of the three young women made an emotional plea for their safe return on Fiji TV last night.

Police have not ruled out the possibility that the missing girls have been murdered.

26 police officers are being helped by villagers from Malake Island in the search.