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Trespass charges likely if families don't move from Samoa airport

[Photo: 123RF via RNZI]

Apia, SAMOA — Families refusing to relocate to allow for an extension to Samoa's Faleolo International Airport may be charged with trespass.

The Samoa Observer reported Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi saying his government would not bow to demands by families from Satapuala village for more compensation to relocate.

The families were given till the end of last month to leave but have not done so.

In an apparent agreement Tuilaepa claimed was signed more than 20 years ago with the village of Satapuala, government swapped 64 acres of land for the 22 acres needed for the airport extension.

As well, the more than 20 families affected were given financial assistance to fund the cost of relocating.

Only four of the families are holding out but Tuilaepa was adamant they were breaking the law with one family telling the newspaper they wanted $T1million before they would move.

The prime minister has made it clear the Government will not back away from this fight because it's in the best interests of Samoa.