Poor security at Tafa'igata led to escape
People are living in fear because of the laxity of the Tafaigata prison guards, resulting in inmates escaping in broad daylight.
Minister of Prisons and Rehabilitation Services, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt made this statement in light of the recent break-in at a Moamoa shop by prisoners Pati Chong Nee and Aniseko Vaelei, who have been on the run for more than three weeks.
Tialavea was sympathetic towards the people affected by the incident at Moamoa, and assured that the police “are doing a very hard job” to recapture the prisoners.
“There are laws but the guards did not follow that on that day, which made them run away,” Tialavea said to the Samoa Observer.
“Prison guards think everything is okay, and think nothing will happen, that prisoners go to church every Sunday and they return."
“Prisoners from day one until the day they complete their time, the only thing on their mind is to escape. So we need to be proactive about it and that is what is lacking.”
Tialavea said the prisoners shouldn’t have escaped if the guards were alert during the church service.
“I feel for the family that is affected because we did not do our responsibility."
“I was there on that Sunday when the prisoners escaped because I always go to attend church with the prisoners. I later left after church, and they were all in the church with the prisoners and security guards. Managers will say something and they return to their cell, but somewhere along there they escaped. It shouldn’t have happened."
“The police are looking for the two prisoners. That’s the hardest part of going out, you cannot determine their whereabouts. Police have been searching Moamoa since early morning. It’s very hard to know where the two are going to attack next.”
Tialavea is advising members of the public to be cautious and to stay safe all the time as police are working hard to recapture the two inmates.
“These two prisoners are burglars, they are not the extreme kind, so take precautions, lock the house, because we don’t know where they are at.”