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Tuilaepa asks for police protection following alleged assault

Former Samoan Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi

Apia, SAMOA — Former Samoan Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, has requested the Ministry of Police and Prisons to assign police officers as his security detail, following an alleged assault last week.

Police Commissioner Auapa'au Logoitino Filipo told Radio Polynesia that he has received the request from the suspended MP.

But he said there were factors that needed to be considered including the fact that Tuilaepa is no longer an MP, despite the fact that he remains the leader of the opposition Human Rights Protection Party.

Last Friday, on leaving the prayer service at the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration to officially open the legal year, Tuilaepa was confronted by a woman said to be in her 70s and she allegedly broke his ulafala - traditional necklace - as a result.

Tuilaepa however did not wish to file a criminal complaint against the woman or another woman believed to have also been involved.

According to the police commissioner, a decision will be made soon on Tuilaepa's security request.

Meanwhile, the two women have been banished from their village of Lepea.

After a hurried meeting of the village council, an order was made to perform a traditional apology or 'ifoga' to Tuilaepa for the incident.

Tuilaepa accepted the traditional offering saying it is important for these customary practices to calm the way for the future.

Local media reports the two women were told to leave all village lands by 4pm that day.