Police Commissioner Fuiava Egon Keil hangs up on Samoa Observer over Tiavi operation

Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil, hung up on the Samoa Observer twice when a reporter from the country’s biggest daily newspaper tried to contact him for an update on reports that a woman had allegedly gone missing at the Papapapaitai Falls.

The alleged missing person was the subject of a search and rescue operation by the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (F.E.S.A.) and the Police, which went late into the night on Tuesday.

F.E.S.A. Assistant Commissioner, Tanuvasa Petone Mauga, confirmed they did not resume the search and rescue operation on Wednesday and were unlikely to return to the site - unless they are asked by the Police.

That’s when and why the Samoa Observer contacted Fuiava for a comment. 

Called the first time, he answered the phone and when he was told it was a reporter from the Samoa Observer, he hung up.

Two more calls placed to the Police Commissioner’s number were not answered. When the Samoa Observer attempted a fourth time, using a different number, the Commissioner answered and asked whom the caller was.

Told that it was a reporter from the Samoa Observer, he hung up again.

Police officers at the site on Tuesday night were not allowed to talk to the media. They said all questions must be directed to the Police Commissioner.

The Samoa Observer has sighted other media reports which quote the Police Commissioner.

But why he has refused to talk to the Samoa Observer, no one seems to know.

On Tuesday night, Emma Taimane Brown, a 73-year-old who lives about 20 meters from the Tiavi fall told the Samoa Observer that her grandchildren ran to her saying they had heard a woman screaming for help from the fall.

“I told my grandson to go and have a look who it was and he came back and said there is a man next to a vehicle but there was no sign of a woman,” she said.

“Another man from up the road came and said he also heard the woman screaming and so I contacted my relative to call the Police because I don’t know their phone number.”

The woman said that her grandson ran back and “got the number plate of the vehicle and also saw the man got in the car and took off. There was no sign of the woman anywhere.”

On Wednesday, F.E.S.A. Assistant Commissioner Tanuvasa confirmed they did not return to the area.

“Police has not got back to us to go back to the site,” Tanuvasa told the Samoa Observer. “If they did confirm a missing person or someone down there (at the fall) and required us to go back there we would have already been informed but they had not made that call. So I assume their investigation has confirmed that no one is missing and we do not need to go back.”

Tanuvasa said from discussion with Police earlier Wednesday morning, they had located a man who was allegedly seen by the Tiavi residents on Tuesday.

He added the man was located using a vehicle number plate, which was supplied by a Tiavi resident.

On Tuesday evening, a rescue team of more than 20 officers responded to a call from Tiavi alleging that a woman was heard screaming for help in the area. Firemen descended the steep hill using ropes to try to locate the person. But they were unsuccessful.

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