13 Nov 2007

Dispute over Samoa land occupation unresolved

2:10 pm on 13 November 2007

Police in Samoa appear keen to reach an negotiated settlement over the occupation of land near Faleolo International airport.

They are hoping their approaches to local church leaders will lead to a break through in a dispute involving people from Satapuala village who claim ownership of the land.

The government has already leased out the area, near the airport and the new Aggie Grey resort built near Mulifanua Wharf, for business development.

Our corespondent in Apia, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, says approaching church leaders might be an attempt to reach agreement with local Matais or village leaders:

"I think because of the Fa'a Samoa or the way Samoan culture (works) and the church, where the Matais always give respect to the church and I think the police are now using that tactic to approach the church in order for the church to then approach the village matai to try and resolve the whole matter."

Our correspondent in Apia, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia