Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has compared the actions of the Luatuanu’u men who blocked the road, endangered lives of the public and attacked the Police to that of “dogs.”
“There is only one outcome for such actions,” Tuilaepa, who is also the Minister of Police, said yesterday. “They should spend time in jail at Tafaigata Prison. The actions by these young men are not that of humans, rather they are the actions of dogs.”
The Prime Minister made the point after Police Commissioner, Fuiava Egon Keil, confirmed that several untitled men from Luatuanu’u had been arrested as a result of civil unrest there on Sunday night and yesterday morning.
The arrests were made when more than 60 Police Officers descended upon Luatuanu’u to try and calm a situation there where angry men from Luatuanu’u had taken to block the road.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Fuiava confirmed that some Police officers were injured when they attempted to clear the roadblock. The men had allegedly thrown rocks at them.
The drama was the result of a fight between the Luatuanu’u youth and nearby village Falefa, which started at a rugby game.
Yesterday, Tuilaepa said the young people of Luatuanu’u had no right to endanger the lives of the travelling public.
“Members of the public are travelling and yet they come in and stop the vehicles and throw rocks at the cars. These types of actions do not exist at this time and age,” said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister commended the Ministry of Police for not resorting to their “guns” when they were under attack.
Tuilaepa reminded that no one has the right to block a public road.
“They should leave the law enforcement to the Police who will investigate the case. Yet the untitled men and some chiefs blocked the road, with the notion that Falefa and Solosolo residents are in the vehicles they encountered.
“When it comes to incidents like this, the question that comes to mind is, where is the Village Council of Luatuanu’u?”
Tuilaepa claimed that Church Ministers had a hard time trying to calm the situation.
“It was like they were bad boys whose heads were draped with t-shirts and their faces were covered partly and when the Police arrived, they threw rocks at them.
“I commend the Commissioner and his team for efforts put into calming the situation. They have guidelines to adhere to when it comes to protecting their lives and these Police Officers are also chiefs.
“They are Chiefs in their respective villages and they were there to keep the peace but the untitled men along with Chiefs assaulted them.
“I am thankful they did not reach for their weapons because under the law they can use their guns.
“If that was the case, no matter where they run the bullets will seep through the walls, if the guns were used. They don’t understand what they were getting themselves into.
“I am shocked by the Chiefs of this village.
“This is one of Samoa’s sacred tradition is our Chiefly system and Chiefs should be proud of the positive productivity of their youth, teach them manners,” said the Prime Minister.
He said this is one of the roles of the Village Council.
“The government will not take this situation lightly and the Police will start bringing in all of them one by one, including the Chiefs that were involved.”
Prime Minister prays the Village Council of Luatuanu’u will stand up and conduct their duties with due diligence and not be ruled by the untitled men.
Tuilaepa said this is one situation the government will not tolerate is blocking of the main road.
Parents in Falefa and Luatuanu’u are urged to consult with their children.
“These rugby programmes are held in the villages and if Falefa and Luatuanu'u cannot work together, they will be eliminated from the rugby programmes, he said.
He also urged Luatuanu’u to let the Police do their job.