Village reacts to prison break, takes security into own hands
The village of Savaia, Lefaga, enforced its village curfew from Monday night until Tuesday morning in a bid to assist the Police search for the escaped prisoners and to keep the villagers safe.
A total of 36 (not 29 as had been originally estimated) prisoners escaped from Tanumalala Prison on Monday night after they attacked the guards, ransacked the offices and broke free.
The Village Mayor of Savaia, Tenari Lupematasila, said that more than 30 untitled men were stationed around the village.
“We heard about the incident around 9pm on Monday night,” she said.
The 55-year-old said that the purpose of the village curfew was to ensure the safety of all.
“Untitled men patrolled around urging families to turn on the lights of all homes throughout the whole night.
“The women and children were advised to stay together within their homes while making sure all doors is locked.
“Our village was not alone in being alert about the prisoners escaping, I am aware that some of the villages within the Lefaga District also did the same measures of having curfews.”
She added that most families were both worried and scared because of the many prisoners that escaped.
“There was a lot of concern for the safety of family members because the incident occurred around night time.
“If only it happened during the day that way we have a better idea of who might be lurking in the plantations but that wasn’t the case.
“And because of that, it led to families having to hide all tools such as knives or machetes that might cause harm whereas the children were not allowed to go outside the house.”
Mrs. Lupematasila added that there was also worry behind so many numbers of prisoners that escaped.
“We would not have the man power in our home to fight off two or three prisoners if they were to invade and last night we heard that 29 prisoners have escaped.
“I also applaud the hard work done by police in capturing the criminals because as of Tuesday morning there were around eight prisoners that remain at large.
“We know that the work that police officers are doing is not easy which is why we commend their services for our people and they are also risking their lives.”
She added that during times of crisis or emergencies the people of Samoa should work together for a common goal.