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Police charge five villagers over guesthouse incident

Five people including the Vailu’utai Village Mayor, Leaitua Taua Toeoa’ana, have been charged following an incident at Vailu’utai early this week. 

This was confirmed by the Deputy Police Commissioner, Papali’i Monalisa, in response to questions from the Samoa Observer. 

Leaitua and two other chiefs of the village spent a night in the cell at the Apia Police Station, for allegedly using insulting words directed at Lio Mugi, the owner of the guesthouse which the Vailu’utai Village Council ordered demolished. 

The Village Mayor alleged that Ms. Mugi’s project is "causing disturbance" in the village, as there are other families disputing its construction, hence the decision by the Village Council.

“Three members of the village are the village mayor and two chiefs were charged for using insulting words."

The Deputy Police Commissioner also confirmed the two chiefs were also charged in relation to the torching of a vehicle and for discharging firearms, while warning members of the public not to take matters into their own hands.

“These charges resulted from the same incident. Police advise members of the public to refrain from taking matters into their own hands, but to contact police for assistance if needed.” 

The incident Papali’i referred to is the Lopala Luka Lauano’s residence, which was invaded by two men and the house pounded with rocks, and a vehicle parked outside set alight last Saturday night. 

Lopala told the Samoa Observer that a group of men came to their home around 10.00pm last Saturday, leading to a confrontation with them.

He said this was before a barrage of rocks were thrown at the family, forcing his wife and their four children, who were asleep, to get up and flee to the neighbours.

Lopala said he and his cousin were able to fight off the men and lead them away from the house and his family.

But their getaway from the house resulted in the unidentified men torching his cousin's car. Lopala’s wife and four children sought refuge in the neighbor’s house. 

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