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Tensions ease following confrontation over arrest

By Marieta Heidi Ilalio APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Feb. 27, 2010) – In Samoa, a major breakthrough was achieved in the bitter row between Gataivai and police on Thursday.

[PIR editor’s note: Gataivai is located on the southern coast of Savaii, the big island neighbor of Upolu, Samoa’s main island. See previous story.]

A meeting between the two parties resulted in the village council agreeing to cooperate with the police investigation into the burning of properties last week.

Assistant Police Commissioner for Operation and National Security, Sala Seaga Uili Lafaele, said they were pleased with the outcome.

"According to the reports given, the police gave a list of names of people accused of arson to the village," Sala said.

The village in return promised they will voluntarily bring these people to the police station on Monday.

"There, they will be questioned and police will be able to carry out their usual duties."

Gataivai burnt four houses which belong to the family of Mapuilesua Mulifusi Togafau, an employee of the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).

Repeated attempts to contact Mapuilesua were unsuccessful.

A man at ACC said he was not working yesterday. When his house was contacted, a lady there said he was at work.

Sala said the police was still unsure why the village burnt the houses.

He said all this will be revealed on Monday at Tuasivi, Savai'i.

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