Indonesian teen arrested for alleged rape of young earthquake survivor

Indonesian teen arrested for alleged rape of young earthquake survivor
Earthquake survivors search for useable items among the debris in Palu, Indonesia's Central Sulawesi on October 1, 2018, after an earthquake and tsunami hit the area on September 28.
PHOTO: AFP

A 14-year-old boy has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl earthquake survivor in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

The girl and her family had left their hometown in neighbouring Central Sulawesi after an earthquake and ensuing tsunami devastated the region on Sept. 28. They are currently living with relatives in Makassar.

The incident allegedly took place on Tuesday night at a vacant house situated in the Bumi Permata Suding residential complex, said Makassar Police criminal investigation unit chief Comr. Wirdhanto Hadicaksono.

The alleged perpetrator, identified as IN, had approached the girl on his motorcycle as she was walking back to her relatives' house, which is located in the same housing complex.

He reportedly promised to give her a ride home with his motorcycle.

Scores killed in Indonesia quake, tsunami

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    Earthquake survivors in Palu, Central Sulawesi, crowd Mutiara Sis Al Jufri Airport in Palu in a desperate attempt to leave the devastated area on Monday.

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    A combination of satellite images shows Palu, Indonesia on September 22, 2018 (L) and on October 1, 2018.

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    A combination of satellite images shows Palu, Indonesia on September 22, 2018 (L) and on October 1, 2018.

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    In the wake of mass destruction caused by a 7.4-magnitude earthquake and the subsequent tsunami, survivors in Palu and Donggala in Central Sulawesi have been scrambling to salvage food supplies and other items, as aid from the central government began to trickle into the region.

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    An aerial view of an area devestated by an earthquake in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia October 1, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto.

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    Local residents affected by the earthquake and tsunami retrieve gasoline at a gas station in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.

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    This handout from Indonesia's National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) taken on September 29, 2018 shows an aerial view of Palu, Indonesia's Central Sulawesi, after an earthquake and tsunami hit the area on September 28.

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    Scores of people were killed when a powerful quake and tsunami struck central Indonesia, an AFP photographer at the scene said on Saturday (Sept 29), as rescuers scrambled to reach the stricken region.

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    Photographs from Palu, home to around 350,000 on the coast of Sulawesi island, showed partially covered bodies on the ground near the shore, the morning after tsunami waves as high as 1.5 metres slammed into the city.

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    A satellite image shows Palu, Indonesia on October 1, 2018.

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    The tsunami was triggered by a strong quake that brought down several buildings and sent locals fleeing their homes for higher ground as a churning wall of water crashed into Palu.

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    People living hundreds of kilometres from the epicentre reported feeling the massive shake, hours after a smaller jolt killed at least one person in the same part of the South-east Asian archipelago.

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    The quake hit just off central Sulawesi at a depth of 10 kilometres just before 6pm local time, the US Geological Survey said. Such shallow quakes tend to be more destructive.

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    Search and rescue teams have been dispatched to hard-hit areas

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    A 10-storey hotel in Palu in Indonesia's Central Sulawesi collapsed following a strong earthquake in the area.

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    As shattered survivors scoured make-shift morgues for loved ones, and authorities struggled to dig out the living or assess the scale of the devastation beyond the city of Palu, grim warnings came that the eventual toll could reach thousands.

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    Rescuers on Sulawesi island raced against the clock and a lack of equipment to save those still trapped in the rubble, with up to 60 people feared to be underneath one Palu hotel alone.

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    Others have centred their search around open-air morgues, where the dead lay in the baking sun - waiting to be claimed, waiting to be named.

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    Still, as dire as the situation in Palu was, it was at least clear. In outlying areas, the fate of thousands is still unknown.

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    Desperate survivors, now facing a third straight night sleeping outdoors, turned to looting shops for basics like food, water and fuel as police looked on, unwilling or unable to intervene.

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"But as they reached the front of the empty house, the boy stopped the motorbike and dragged the girl inside," Wirdhanto said on Wednesday, adding that results of the police's medical examination showed signs of rape.

According to the police, IN is a school dropout who lives with his grandfather.

Despite being a minor, the boy has been declared a suspect for sexually assaulting a child with deception and intimidation.

He was charged under Article 81 of the 2002 Child Protection Law, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a minimum of five years.

It remains unclear where the parents or the relatives of the girl were when the incident took place as the police did not disclose further details on the case.

Andi Tenri Palallo, head of the Makassar Women's Empowerment, Family Planning and Child Protection Agency, said the girl was currently under the care and protection of the city's Integrated Care Center for the Empowerment of Women and Children (P2TP2A).

"We are trying our best to give her counselling," Andi said. "The trauma from the earthquake still haunts her, but now she also has to deal with another trauma from rape."

In response to the incident, the Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry plans to set up at least eight centres dedicated to protecting women and child in four hard-hit disaster areas, namely Palu city, as well as Sigi, Donggala and Parigi Moutong regencies.

The centres will provide solutions to problems female and child evacuees may face, including violence and sexual harassment.

"Women and children living in shelters are welcome to visit these centres if they have any problems to be addressed," Nyimas Aliyah, the ministry's deputy assistant for women protection in emergency situations, said on Wednesday.

The ministry has distributed pamphlets providing advice for parents on how to protect the children from violence and sexual assault in various shelters across the province.

"Do not let anyone touch your body by deception or by force. [Also, do not let them] take your photo or video when you are wearing no clothes," the pamphlet said.

"If someone tries to hurt you, please tell your parents, officers or volunteers immediately."

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