A former British reality TV star and his American girlfriend were reported to be robbed, abused and attacked violently by tribesmen in Papua New Guinea while trekking the world’s best tourist attraction, Kokoda Track, in January.
The couple was later identified as Matthew Iovane and Michele Clemens. According to Inquisitr, the couple said that jokes cracked on tribes of cannibals turned into an actual tragedy for them when people in native clothing appeared before them and stripped them naked. According to the couple’s testimony, the natives tied the couple to a tree and inhumanely cut open two fingers of Clemens during the incident. The Kokoda men were accused of gang raping the former actor’s American girlfriend.
Police confirmed that the belongings of the tourists were stolen, including cash and bags that contained food and other necessary items. In an interview with British newspaper The Sun, the couple said that the assailants led them to frogmarch into the jungle, but they did not mention anything about the rape in the interview. “We were about an hour into the walk when a tribesman appeared ahead of us and another behind us,” Iovane told The Sun, claiming one of the men wore a mask fashioned from feathers and vines.
“They looked very scary in native costumes and what looked like war paint and came closer before circling around us. They tore up my T-shirt to blindfold me and the awful thought crossed my mind that we could be on the menu. They were totally feral and we were at their mercy. I thought we’d vanish into the jungle and never be seen again.”
According to news.com.au, the couple managed to escape from the situation and walked barefoot for six hours. They stopped when they reached a friendly village where a helicopter arrived to help them get out of there. Later, two suspects, both teens from the tribes, were arrested and are on remand at present. However, on January 29, NewsCorp’s news website reported certain doubts with the original story.
A more detailed investigation has been undertaken on the Kokoda Track couple’s story that showed Iovane and Clemens’ Pacific island nation tour came to an end as they were trapped under a trail of bad debts worth over $35,000. The detailed report stated the reality TV star and his girl were swimming naked in rivers and they walked in revealing clothes along the track when Guideline 9 of the Kokoda Track specifies “respect the culture and religious beliefs” of the local people. The biggest revelation of this investigation, however, was not their inappropriate behavior that broke taboos or the debt, but that the accused “rapists” were said to be known by the couple.