Police Officers warned their village of Raid

Muagututia after testifying

Muagutuatia Akeripa Toalepaiali’i approaches defence counsel Papali’i Li’o Masepa’u (left) after testifying.
Photo: Lagi Keresoma/Talamua Media

by Lagi Keresoma

APIA: FRIDAY 10 MAY 2013: Police officers who live in Satapuala warned their village of a Police raid the day it happened, the District Court has heard.

Angered by that news, residents erected the stone walls that blocked part of the main road that runs through the village on 16 August last year.

A confrontation between Police and Satapuala occurred at the roadblock that day.

“There are also Satapuala people working as police officers,” Muagututia Akeripa Toalepaiali’i testified.

Muagututia is one of 18 defendants on trial for offences that arose from the confrontation with Police.

He said he only found out about the reasons for the raid after he spoke to village matai.

The order issued to the village was to remove the stone walls and to keep the peace, he said.

Muagututia denied the allegation that the village met on Wednesday night 15August 2012 and planned the roadblock.

The Prosecution argued the reason for the roadblock was to stop Police from crossing over to land allocated by government to build a district hospital on.

Member of Parliament Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster and Satapuala residents arrived and told the village there was to be no raid.

Also on trial Toeolesulusulu testified he was at the meeting which government officials and the Commissioner of Police attended.

The Commissioner told the MP of a fear amongst the public caused by the standoff at Satapuala.

“I apologised to the Commissioner and asked him to give us one or two hours to sort things out,” said the MP.

After the meeting, the MP went and met with his village to report the outcome of discussions with the Commissioner.

He told the village there would be no police raid.

As the village was about to respond to his report, someone called that the police had arrived.

Negotiations between the two parties failed.

Trouble then erupted with both sides pushing each other.

Toeolesulusulu said that if the Commissioner had granted them the one hour he had requested there would not have been any confrontation.