Makassar, Sulawesi (ANTARA) - The Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry has dispatched a four-member investigative team to gather facts regarding the alleged rape of three children by their father in East Luwu District, South Sulawesi Province, in 2019.

Investigations into the case were stopped by local police at the time due to insufficient evidence.

While four investigators have been dispatched currently, a team coordinator will follow soon, an official said.

"We are still gathering facts, so we came down here to find the facts," the ministry's team leader Taufan said in Makassar on Saturday.

However, he was reluctant to share the results of a meeting with the South Sulawesi Women and Child Protection Technical Unit pertaining to the case's handling.

"We cannot provide information yet because this is only the initial process. We are repeating this process from the beginning to see the facts on the field. We are still here until the process is complete," he elaborated.

He said that the team from the ministry has come to seek the truth and gather facts so that the case can be reopened, given that the incident involved children who were allegedly sexually abused by their own father, identified by his initials as SA (initial).

"We are looking for facts here. What is clear is that we collect facts from all relevant parties. If all (locations) are revealed (to the public), those will be visited, they will get ready. We want to give an element of surprise so that they do not prepare (tamper with evidence)," Taufan added.

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He pointed out that data from the investigation, once it is completed, will be revealed to the public through the media.

Meanwhile, head of the South Sulawesi Women and Child Protection Technical Unit Meisy Papuyungan said that the ministry's team has come to find out what actually happened. The ministry in Jakarta has completely handed over the investigation to the team, Papuyungan added.

"We leave it for further investigation to the Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry. Now, the victims are with their mother. As long as they need it, we are ready. There is a team going there (East Luwu). They asked for initial information, then we suggested that we go down immediately to dig up valid information so this doesn't get confusing," Papuyungan said.

The victims' mother, RA, had alleged her ex-husband, SA, who worked in East Luwu district government as a civil servant, had sexually abused her three biological children, identified by their initials as AL, MR, and AL, in 2019.

Investigation into the case was stopped due to insufficient evidence in 2019, officials said. The case went viral on social media in October 2021. The way the investigation into the case was ceased was deemed odd by LBH Makassar, the victim's legal assistance team.

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Translator: M Darwin F, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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