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Samoa police capture remaining 4 escaped prisoners

Commissioner Keil holds up a spoon that has been made into a stabbing device.
Source: Samoa Global News


Apia, SAMOA — The Samoa Police Service has confirmed that the remaining four escaped prisoners are now back in custody.

Responding to questions from Samoa Global News, the Samoa Police Commissioner confirmed that all four prisoners were captured in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

“Yes. We got ’em all. It was out at Lefaga. We will have more details posted later this morning but yes, we do now have all four of them.”

It has taken the Samoa Police Service (SPS), with the support of village matai and aumaga, as well as other agencies such as FESA and Samoa Prisons less than 48 hours to capture all escapees from Monday night’s mass prison break.

SPS originally reported they were seeking 29 prisoners after the breakout, however, a subsequent interview with the Prime Minister who is also the Minister for Prisons confirmed that 36 had originally been unaccounted for.

Commissioner Su’a Fuiavailiili Egon Keil said on Monday night that the situation could have been a lot worse. Prison guards were attacked and one was hospitalized with serious head injuries after being struck with a rock.

Prisoners ransacked the prison office area and caused havoc before escaping by simply walking out through the prison gates.

“They overpowered the guards, they attacked other inmates who had tried to help the prison guards and they broke open other cell blocks and even went into the women’s cells,” said Su’a.

All prison guards on duty required medical attention including Samoa Prisons Deputy Chief Levaopolo Losa Siaosi who was on site at the time of the breakout.

Sua said other prisoners who were trying to help the guards suffered serious injuries, and also remain in hospital.

“So we have inmate-on-inmate violence there too now.”

The Prime Minister has since announced the resignation of Samoa’s Commissioner of Prisons and Corrections Services, Taitosaua Edward Winterstein.


The Samoa Police have displayed various metal makeshift weapons found on prisoners who had escaped Tanumalala during the mass prison break on Monday night.

The Samoa Police displayed various metal makeshift weapons found on prisoners who had escaped Tanumalala prison in Samoa during the mass prison break on Monday night.[photo: Government press 2AP via Samoa Global News]

The rampage hospitalized prison officers and staff and caused serious injury to other prisoners, who had tried to help the guards. Three prisoners are still being treated together with a prison guard who was struck on the head with a stone. One of the prisoners is still in critical condition.

Su’a Fuiavailiili Egon Keil explained the extent of the dangerous weapons that were found on prisoners, adding that there are a lot of reforms that need to be carried out.

“As you can see o kolopa, o gaifi, samala, paipa; this was what was used on the night. There were cell phones found on some prisoners, and who knows what else is in there, so there is a lot of reform that needs to happen over at that prison.”

“One of them had on him a spoon, where the handle had been sharpened, and it turns into a stabbing device;

Commissioner Keil says the old complacent ways of assuming prisoners are not armed and dangerous, can no longer be applied to prisons in Samoa.

“These guys are in there for doing some pretty bad things; you can’t treat them like your friends you know. They’re in there for good reason.”

Cabinet made the decision on Tuesday to bring back the management of Samoa’s Prisons and Rehabilitation Services under the Ministry of Police.