20 Feb 2008

Calls in Samoa for land dispute to be clarified before situation gets out of hand

9:53 am on 20 February 2008

The lawyer representing land owners who've been blocked out of their own property in the Siumu district in Samoa, says their claims need to be clarified before the situation gets out of hand.

The land is the subject of a pending court case between the Siumu village and the government but some Siumu villagers want the land owners removed now.

The lawyer for the landowners, Tole'afoa Solomona To'ailoa, says the claim before the courts is simply asking for compensation from the government - not for the land to be returned.

He says this needs to be explained to the villagers blocking the land.

"As we're talking I understand that this faction of Siumu people are are still occupying the land, they have set up camp. This is quite disturbing really and very unsatisfactory and I hope that their lawyer can explain to them the true position of their claims so that they will then have the sense of withdrawing from the land peacefully."

Tole'afoa Solomona To'ailoa says if they do not remove themselves peacefully they will be prosecuted for trespassing.