The village of Matautu Falelatai is split with two governance structures; the main village or “nuu tele” and a breakaway village “faiganuu lona lua”.
Responding to questions from Samoa Global News, Deputy Police Commissioner Auapaau Logoitino Filipo confirmed police were called in on Tuesday afternoon to respond to grievances when the ongoing conflict between matai of the two faiganu’u had escalated.
Auapaau said the ongoing dispute has reached an impass and it has been reported to them the “nu’u tele” had allegedly cut water pipes to the families of the other faiganu’u, leaving them with no water. He said their children had also been banned from attending the village Primary School.
The nu’u tele is led by most of the Alii and Faipule of Matautu village while the other faiganu’u was established by Anae Misa Pita, who is a former Judge of the Lands and Titles Court.
The Deputy Police Commissioner said the dispute arose when the breakaway village of Anae Misa Pita tried to establish a new Seventh Day Adventist Church.
“And that does not sit well with the matai of the nuu tele”, he added
“That is the only information we have been given as to the cause of the dispute,” said Auapaau.
Deputy Police Commissioner Auapa’au says the police were in Matautu, Falelatai on Tuesday responding to complaints about the water being cut off, children being turned away from school and road blocks being set up to stop those from the other faiganuu from passing.
According to Auapa’au, the nuu tele are quoting an LTC decision forbidding any new church denominations to be established.
“Police are continuing their investigations into the matter and those are the details we have at this time”.