Prison officer injured during detainees' escape

A Samoa Prison and Corrections Services (S.P.C.S.) officer sustained injuries to his head when seven detainees attempted to break out of the Tafaigata Prison early Monday morning.

S.P.C.S. Deputy Commissioner Levaopolo Rosa Siaosi said the prison officer responded to a call for help from inside the cell at 4.00am on Monday morning where the detainees are held. 

She said the officer responded to the call for help and got injured when he tried to open the door into the cell.

“There was a call from inside the cell that someone was sick. He did not follow protocols which is the cells can only be opened with the assistance of three or four officers but he went ahead and opened the cell. 

“But it was all pre-planned by those inside and when the cell was opened, these seven detainees pushed through the door and the others inside had thrown rocks at the officer, in which he sustained injuries to his head and his hand," she said. 

Levaopolo said there were 33 people being held in the detainees' cell that day and seven tried to make a getaway. 

“So seven of them attempted to escape and five were captured down the walkway while the other two managed to escape.

“The prison officer responded to the call without bearing in mind his safety and the circumstances, and did not follow our protocols by opening the cell by himself (but) he is safe now and recovered.” 

One of the two detainees who escaped Monday morning was captured. He is Palemata Eteuati, 17, from Leauva’a and Manunu. The other detainee Silao Leleiga, 18, of Nofoali’I, Saanapu and Salailua Savai’i is still on the run. 

The S.P.C.S. Deputy Commissioner said the prison officer who opened the door – which led to them escaping – is been investigated and could undergo a disciplinary hearing. 

She added that during every watch there is always a supervisor around the prison facility and the S.P.C.S. is investigating where the supervisor was at the time of the escape. 

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