Peace Restored at Tanumalala Prison, Investigation Launched

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Tanumalala Prison Room 2, Prison opening June 2019. Photo: Taielua Tuasivi, SGN.

Tuesday 29 March 2022, Apia Samoa. Peace has been restored at the Tanumalala prison where inmates broke out of three cell blocks on Tuesday morning. Police reinforcements arrived quickly on site, and the situation was quickly brought under control. Speaking to Samoa Global News, Deputy Police Commissioner Auapaau Logoitino Filipo said misinformation about the incident by some of the local media was dissapointing.

“Contrary to what has been reported by some media outlets, I can confirm that no prisoner breached the perimeter of the prison walls, and also, no inmate nor prison guard was injured as some have misreported,” said Auapaau.

“We received a call from the Officer on duty, and within an hour, the situation was stored”.

“We want to reassure the public that peace has been restored to the Tanumalala prison facility, and a full investigation is now underway, as to the events leading up to this incident”.

The Deputy Police Commissioner called out some local media outlets that reported the incident as a “mass prison break”.

“That kind of misinformation can cause unnecessary panic in the community,” said the Deputy Commissioner of Police.

There are 300 inmates and over 100 prison guards at Tanumalala prison. Auapaau said the corrections facility is currently covid-free, however, during the national lockdown period, all visitations have been put on hold. “Even our own officers are making the sacrifice to not go home.. and have been camped there since lockdown”.

Auapaau said the decision to have prison and corrections officers camped and unable leave or visit their families, is to ensure the safety of Tanumalala and all 300 inmates.

Tanumalala prison is a high security Prison and Corrections facility opened in June 2019, relocating the prison Tafaigata.