Police holding young men in relation to vandalism at Salelologa


Facebook images of vandalism at the Salelologa market and traffic held at a roadblock

APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 28 MAY 2018: Police report from Tuasivi, Savaii tonight that they have started to hold young men for investigations in relation to the violence and vandalism between youths of Salelologa and Salelavalu villages.

Police sources told Talamua tonight that the chiefs and orators of both villages were working with the police to enforce a curfew at the border village of Saletagaloa where a family home was reported to have been torched on Saturday night and escalated the tension.

A police source said last night that the tension was still high as the police were called back to the scene when tension flared up again following efforts by the village councils to restore order.

Village sources said the latest violence has roots in an incident that occurred before Mother’s Day two weeks ago where drugs are suspected to be the cause.

About forty police officers from the Apia were dispatched this morning in response to the escalating vandalism at the Salelologa market and roadblocks. Police said information received from members of the public indicated that road blocks were erected at Salelologa and Salelavalu around 3am this morning and resulted in travelers missing the first ferry to Apia.

There were reports of gunshots and stone throwing and a video clip shows a young man carrying a shotgun at the Salelologa market as other young men ransack the foodstalls.

There are reports of injuries but no deaths as a result of the violence.

Approaching the Salelologa wharf

Police said a brawl erupted between the youths of both villages Saturday 26th May 2018 at Saletagaloa that borders Salelologa and Salelavalu. The police at Tuasivi responded and together with the village councils from both villages resolved the issue on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Police say at around 10am today, further reports indicate that a group of young men from Salelologa were vandalising properties at the Salelologa market. These youths were believed to be intoxicated and armed. Images of the incident were posted on social media by concerned members of the public. The Samoa Police Service has since deployed additional staff and senior management to Savaii to assist.

Police said this unfortunate event impacts on the safety of all members of the public in Savaii. Members of Samoa Police Service deployed to the area will remain there until the matter is resolved peacefully.