Man dies from alleged stabbing at Siumu

A man from Siumu was allegedly stabbed to death on Wednesday night at Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa. 

Danny Kitiona Tofaeono, 21, was supporting a group of villagers who were part of an entertainment group at the Sinalei Resort fiafia night when the incident happened. 

The deceased is alleged to have had “bad blood” with another man who was at the event. He was allegedly attacked later on that night, away from where the event was taking place.  

Mr. Toafaeono was taken to the hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival.    

Founder and Chairman of Sinalei Resort, Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale, said the incident has stunned the village.

According to Tuatagaloa the men involved are no strangers to their resort and were former employees there. He explained that on Wednesday night, the Resort holds a fiafia night where Maninoa provided entertainment.

The deceased was one of the supporters (le au tapua’i) of the group while the accused was playing with the string band on the night. 

He said the accused is not an employee of Sinalei and recently returned from American Samoa, and had sought an opportunity to play with the band. 

“So it was during the time there was break for the band while the other entertainment was on when it happened,” said Tuatagaloa. 

“There must have been some differences between these two and had words with the other guy – and in the course of the show Danny went to the back and the other guy must have followed him there to the back – and that is where he (allegedly) stabbed him. 

“So the guy that did this must have camouflaged the knife when he went to the back, and everyone thought he just threw a punch but it was fatal.”

Tuatagaloa said the deceased was immediately transported to the hospital by his nephew using the resort’s vehicle.

He said the incident is unfortunate and has stunned the village. The Chairman of the resort said they pride themselves in the safety of their staff and their guests but the incident was unexpected. He said security was his concern when he was made aware of the incident. 

“The first question I asked was what were the security doing,” he said. “But we are talking here about people that are not strangers here. They do show up from time to time and are family. They used to work here many years ago, and in terms of security there were no red lights flashing, because the men we treat them like family here and we were comfortable with them. 

“The men do not have any history of violence but it is just one of those unfortunate incidents that just seemed to happen and it can happen anywhere.”

Tuatagaloa assured the guests and staff at the resort that they are safe and there are security guards in the compound night and day. 

The deceased's parents, Atuaia Kitiona and Tiaga Kitiona Tofaeono, said their son is sorely missed. Atuaia said his son was preparing to celebrate his 22nd birthday next week Saturday. 

“But he has gone before we could celebrate his birthday,” he told the Samoa Observer. 

Atuaia said he had also accepted a traditional apology (ifoga) presented during the early hours of Thursday by the family of the accused.

“Danny is the fifth of seven children we have,” he said. 

“He is very quiet and difficult too and those are the qualities that he has that we miss him for. He is very close to his mother. What had happened to him is shocking and it is something that no parent wants to go through.” 

Atuaia said they are not aware of what had happened and they will wait until Police complete their investigation. 

However, the said despite the pain they are going through, they have forgiven the person responsible for the death.

“We feel sad because we really thought it was just an injury or something minor,” he said. 

“But when we found out he has gone it was painful and hard to accept. But we also feel that despite the hurt we are Christian people and we forgive whoever is responsible. We only hope that what had happened to my son will be taken as a lesson to others that the actions they take has an impact on families and can cause unbearable pain to families like us and should reconsider it.” 

Atuaia said  his older children are overseas working as seasonal workers.  Danny wanted to join them. 

“But his older siblings told him to stay and care for us,” said the father. “That was his responsibility is to go to work and looks after us. When he finishes work he comes home and helps out with chores and making food. We will miss him around and we will remember how good he was in caring for us.” 

Attempts to get a comment from Police were unsuccessful. However, a source confirmed the man accused of the stabbing was taken to the Poutasi Police Station and was later transferred to the Central Police Station in Apia. 

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