Samoa’s National Council of Churches intervenes in land dispute

The Chairman of Samoa’s National Council of Churches, Reverend Kasiano Le’aupepe, has denied claims he visited Satapuala at the request of the Prime Minister.

“It was a decision by the Council to try and ensure no lives will be wasted and blood is not shed.” They visited because they wanted the people of Satapuala “to feel God’s presence and remind them that the heart of God is about keeping the peace,” said Le’aupepe.

There is a long standing land dispute between Satapuala and the government over land now legally under the Samoa Trust Estates Corporation opposite Faleolo international airport.

The Satapuala village council recently delivered a letter to the Prime Minister asking the government to return part of the disputed land.

Villagers then set up a security watch post on disputed land after Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi said that police will soon take up camp on site.

Village orator Vaili Mimita confirmed the village’s decision saying that matais from various sub-villages of Satapuala will take turns in keeping watch over the lands.

Vaili had previously announced the village’s intention of taking over the airport.

Rev Le’aupepe was accompanied by an NCC delegation consisting of the President of the Methodist Church, Reverend Aisoli Iuli and Reverend Nu’uausala Siaosi of the Apia Protestant Church.

Vaili told the Samoa Observer they politely thanked the NCC for their visit and told them that Satapuala’s decision stands.

“They (the delegation) told some of our matai that the Government had requested for their help as spiritual leaders of Samoa,” said Vaili.

“We all knew that this was the Prime Minister’s tactic in thinking that it would solve the problem, but he is wrong again.”


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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