18 Feb 2008

Village matais in Samoa to set time for owners to vacate disputed lands

6:42 am on 18 February 2008

The village chiefs and orators of the district of Siumu in Samoa have plans to call a meeting this month to discuss a time frame for

those who have purchased land, to leave.

The owners who bought some 500 acres of disputed land will be asked to remove their belongings including houses and plantations.

The deputy chairman for the district lands and high chief, Tapusalaia Lautogia, says the committee is looking at giving the group one month .

The deputy chairman has also dismissed claims by one of the land owners, Tole'afoa Solomona To'ailoa, who says the police should prosecute Siumu people for trespassing on their lands as they have already bought the area from the rightful owner, Aiono Luki.

Tapusalaia has said the 1,280 acres of land belongs to the district who will not give up from their claim now before the court.

He says land owners should seek legal action against the government for compensation of monies they had spent in purchasing part of the land.

Meanwhile the village mayor or pulenu'u , Tu'uu Faimasasa Tofaeono, continues to lead a group who are blocking the road going to the area where land has been sold to more than fifty owners.

The village mayor says several senior police officers have approached them and advised them to keep the peace and not to cause any damage to properties and crops on the land.