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Manu’a incident debunked by local Dept. of Homeland Security

An alleged incident purported to happen on Ta'u, Manu’a over the weekend has been debunked by the local Department of Homeland Security, in a “special bulletin” released on Saturday, April 22, 2017 — 5:00 a.m. The incident was posted on Facebook in the early morning hours of Saturday.

The incident, according to the FB post, allegedly involved a “large ship anchored off the coast of Ta’u and small vessels came ashore via Nuu gaogao.” The post goes on to say, “All village men went to see who it is and women and children scrambling to safety. Shots fired rn.” The post continues, “I just confirmed with homeland sec. n help is on the way from Tutuila. Coast Guard dispatched n on da way.” The post goes on to say, “PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR FAMILIES. Tutuila stay alert…”

Comments in response to the post about the alleged incident allude to a possible training drill by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), fishing boats, Ta’u men scaring off the boat with shots, etc. —  while others say the post is ‘correct’.

The DHS’ special bulletin, released in the English and Samoan languages, received by Samoa News via email on Saturday, said the following:

This is a special bulletin from the American Samoa Department of Homeland Security – TEMCO issued at 5:00 a.m. Saturday, April 22, 2017.

The American Samoa Department of Homeland Security has received phone calls of concern from the public regarding an alleged incident occurring on the island of Ta’u, Manu’a. According to credible sources, an unconfirmed siting out at sea during a fishing trip by locals of Ta’u Manu’a, prompted a now wide spread rumor of misinformation.

The public is advised not to be alarmed, the alleged incident or unconfirmed siting has been reported to the U.S. Coast Guard Office and the Department of Public Safety. There were no gun shots fired, no persons injured, and conditions are safe in Ta’u Manu’a.

The American Samoa Department of Homeland Security – TEMCO will continue to monitor the situation and we will issue further bulletins if necessary. Any concerns please call the EOC at 699-3800/699-0411/0420 or the Police at 633-1111.

O se fa’aaliga taua fa’apitoa lenei mai le Matagaluega o le Puipuiga o le Saogalemu Faa-Lotoifale – le Homeland Security ma le Ofisa o le TEMCO, auina mai i le itula e 5:00 i le taeao nei, le Aso To’ana’i, aso 22 o Aperila 2017.

Taluai ona o telefoni mai ni isi o le atunu’u e fesiligia se fa’alavelave le mautinoa ua lipotia mai i Ta’u Manu’a. O se fa’amatalaga ua maua e fa’apea, o se faiga faiva a ni isi lava o Ta’u Manu’a sa va’aia ai se tulaga e le o fa’amaoniaina i le gataifale. O lea tulaga ua mafua ai ni fa’amatalaga ‘ese’ese ma le sese.

E fautuaina le mamalu o le atunu’u ina ia ‘aua ne’i fa’apopoleina, o le fa’alavelave le mautinoa sa lipotia mai ua fa’ailoa atu i le Ofisa e gafa ma le gataifale (Coast Guard) fa’apea ai le Ofisa o Leoleo. E leai se faga sa fa’apaina, e leai se tasi o afaina, ma o lo’o saogalemu uma tulaga i Ta’u Manu’a.

O lo’o va’ava’aia pea ma o le a toe auina atu nisi fautuaga mai le ofisa o le ASDHS-TEMCO pe a fai ae iai nisi fa’amatalaga fou. Vala’au mai le 699-3800/699-0411/0420 le EOC po’o 633-1111 le Ofisa o Leoleo mo ni isi fa’amatalaga.

Samoa News briefly spoke to Police Commissioner Le’i Sonny Thompson, who is off-island, and said a Department of Safety officer in Manu’a called the main DPS office that there was a report that came in of the possible incident, but it had yet to be confirmed, at the time, including whether or no it was a NOAA training drill.

Le’i says DPS is still awaiting further information on the alleged incident before commenting further.