Family lives in fear after Savai’i terror

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu 30 May 2018, 12:00AM

The Talafulu family from Salelologa is living in fear.

It follows a horrific ordeal where their house was stoned with rocks and cars shot at during a violent fight between Salelavalu and Salelologa men during the weekend.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Epi Rose Talafulu, said they are relocating.

Still in shock, she is struggling to accept that Samoans are capable of being so "angry", "vicious" and "violent."

She recalled what happened.

 “A fight broke out during a billiard game and as a result, young men from Salelavalu assaulted another young man who has been admitted to the hospital,” she said.

“As if that was not enough, the young men from Salelavalu then burnt the house to the ground. That’s when things escalated." 

 “Early Sunday morning about, 2am when young men from Salelologa set up rocks to block the road." 

“Despite the fact that my family was not involved in the fight between the young men; but our home was badly damaged." 

“The young men from Salelavalu; came and threw rocks at our house and my cousin’s house across the street, if you go inside, everything has been destroyed."

“And not only that, our house was shot at. Luckily for us, no one died and that is my biggest fear. This is why we are packing our belongings and we heading over to our family in Iva.”

Epi said they are grateful no one was killed but it could have easily turned nasty.

 “Aside from shooting at use, they threw rocks at our family car.

“My 14-year-old son was in the house whilst all of this is happening and for him to witness such cruel actions by other young men is disheartening. 

“My son was hiding at the back of our house. He feared for his life and as a parent, this is something no one would want on their child.”

Asked as to why the Police was not contacted, the mother said it was a waste of time. 

“The incident started around 2am Sunday, and we have been calling them and no one came to our aid.

“But then again I never expected them to show at these types of situation. 

“I called for help but they never came, and the Police here anyway are not reliable. 

“We cannot depend of them for anything, they are useless,” said Mrs. Talafulu. 

“It is unbelievable the reality that our young men have come to.” 

She told the Samoa Observer that it is unclear whether they will return to their home in the weeks to come. 

“Who would want to come back here? Surely, me and my son don’t want to come back here.”

Outside Parliament yesterday, the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, who is Salelologa’s Member of Parliament, said he was reluctant to comment on the issue until he gets more details.

“It is sad what has happened but I cannot comment on the events given that I don’t have the full story of why and what happened,” he said.

“I spoke to the chiefs in Salelologa and each chief had a different story to tell, so again I cannot comment.”

Sili had to deliver the budget yesterday and is expected to be in Savai’i tomorrow.

He said he is satisfied about the heavy Police presence in Savai’i as a “deterrence” for the youth of Salelologa. 

The vandalizing of the Salelologa market, he said , would impact on the future plans the Government has in store for the village.

“The Government is trying to have all its offices and services available at Salelologa for convenience to the residents of Savaii, so they don’t have to come to Apia. 

“We are currently allocating government lands in Salelologa for the government’s offices however given what has occurred, it begs the question of whether the government plans should be reconsidered. 

 “We have to look at the safety of the people at the same time.

 “I have faith in the Village Councils and Church Ministers to assist in keeping the peace in the villages in Savai’i. After all it is in our best interest.”

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu 30 May 2018, 12:00AM

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