Prisoners escape rumour rejected

The Deputy Commissioner of Samoa Prisons and Corrections Services, Ulugia Niuia Aumua, has rejected reports that more inmates have escaped from Tafaigata Prison - in addition to the two inmates who remain on the run.

“That is not true,” he told the Samoa Observer yesterday.

“The only prisoners who we are tracking with the Police are Aniseko Vaelei and Uili Manuleleua, who are still on the run.” 

Vaelei, Manuleleua, Lauititi Tualima and Vailoa Solia escaped from prison last week Thursday. 

However not long after, Lauititi and Vailoa were recaptured.

Since then, the Prisons and Police have beefed up their search for Vaelei and Manuleleua.

Yesterday, Ulugia called on the public to remain calm and contact the Prisons Service and the Police if they ever come across the prisoners.

“Our procedures in place when prisoners’ escapes are to first inform the Police who will help with the search and then we inform the public." 

“It’s a costly operation, but these policies have been adhered to since the escape of the prisoners last Thursday.” 

He reminded the public that creating false rumors will not help the issue at hand. 

Asked as to how the Prisoners escaped, Ulugia declined to comment, noting that an investigation is in progress. 

“We are currently conducting our investigations into whether our policies in place were adhered to and looking at how the inmates escaped from jail.” 

Last week, a mother of three expressed anger with Samoa Prisons and Correction Services for failing to keep the prisoners locked because she was attacked in her own home at knifepoint. 

The mother, a prominent businesswoman, was left with facial injuries and nightmares about the ordeal.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, the woman who asked for her name to be withheld, said she is scarred for the rest of her life. 

According to the woman, she is convinced that it was Tualima who was in her bedroom. 

“He leaned towards me with a knife and pushed me onto the bed,” she said. “He threatened to stab me and then he punched me on the face." 

“At some point, my youngest daughter woke up and was screaming and he pulled her off the mattress." 

“I then had to take control of the situation. I just told him, just relax and that my purse is there, just take it. He just took my iPhone and ran off.” 

The woman said she was afraid for her family’s safety. 

“My daughters were in the kitchen with some other knives trying to fend off the others who were outside."  

“I thought it was just Lauititi there and it wasn’t, until I spoke to my daughters. When I screamed they saw another guy running out of the house and that’s when I realized there were two guys in the house. I’m not sure where the other guy was.”

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