Luatuanu’u spokesperson, Tofete Lafaua Tofete, has rubbished claims by the Ministry of Police about another roadblock incident at their village during the early hours of Wednesday.
“There was nothing on the road,” he said, “I don’t know what the Police are trying to do here.
“We walked towards the area where they claim the so called roadblock occurred, but there was nothing. It was just a pile of sand on the road.”
Tofete issued the response during an interview with the Weekend Observer yesterday.
On Thursday evening, the Ministry of Police issued a press statement saying “that about 1am today, Thursday, 19th April 2018, the Samoa Police Service communication centre received calls for assistance from the public reporting a makeshift roadblock in the village of Luatuanu’u”.
“According to reports, a toilet bowl was placed in the middle of the road along with sand bags forming the roadblock.
“In response, uniformed officers were dispatched to the scene, where they contacted the village spokesperson, who indicated that the village would handle the matter and that the village will call a meeting in the morning to address the issue,” says the statement.
However Tofete was adamant the Police are exaggerating.
“Someone knocked on my door at 2am. I came to the door and saw a heavy presence of Police Officers who asked for assistance regarding the so called roadblock.
“We walked to where they claimed the roadblock was held but there was nothing other than a pile of sand on the road.
“I don’t understand as to why they came to me. They should’ve gone directly to where the so called roadblock was at because honestly I am obligated to them.
“Also our Village Council have issued warnings to anyone in the village who gets involved into any illegal activity such as blocking the road, their family will be penalised.
“We have zero tolerance for any criminal activity in the village,” said Tofete.
“So you tell me, who in their right mind will get involved knowing their family will be penalised?
“We are now conducting our own investigations whether the allegations by the Police are true and if it is, we will not hesitate to penalise the alleged culprit and their family.”
Tofete said up until yesterday their village is saddened with the turn of events where their village has been banned from any of the government’s assistance, when in reality it was the young men who blocked the road and yet the entire village is suffering.
“We have been banned from rugby, we are no longer eligible for the work scheme overseas, our young men were allegedly robbed of their chances of becoming Police Officers yet the roadblock was instigated by 15 young men who have been criminally charged,” said Tofete.
This is over the top and the unfairness is ridiculous.
Meanwhile according to the press statement by the Police, their preliminary investigation revealed that the unknown suspects have fled the scene and removed the makeshift roadblock prior to the officers’ arrival and a private vehicle sustained moderate damage to its body. Additionally, rocks were reported thrown at other passing vehicles.
As a safety precaution, for the time being the vehicular travelling public is unfortunately advised to remain alert whilst traversing this part of Upolu, especially at night.
Throwing an object at a passing vehicle is a serious crime as it can cause great bodily injury or death. Anyone apprehended and charged of such a crime will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Anyone with information or questions regarding this incident or if you are a victim of this incident, please contact Senior Sergeant Eneliko Taeu or Superintendent Salaa of Criminal Investigation Division on 22222.
The Samoa Police Service will do its part in keeping Samoa and everyone safe.