Airport standoff in Samoa leads to police presence

Samoa Airport Authority staff working on a planned runway extension have been allegedly threatened by villagers from Satapuala, resulting in police being called.

The Samoa Observer reported that the standoff happened when workers started pulling down several homes to make way for the extension.

The matter has been a long-standing issue between government and some of the families affected, whose traditional leaders had signed an agreement with government 35 years ago to vacate the land in exchange for property further inland.

Most of the families affected have made the move except for a few who appear to be holding out for compensation.

Since police have been on site, there have been no more threats and the work has resumed.

The village mayor, Vaili Mimita, said the families were told to vacate last week.

He said village authorities will level penalties against anyone who interferes with the project.