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Samoa family wins compensation for damage by village matais

The Supreme Court in Samoa has awarded compensation and damages of more than 450,000 US dollars to a family in Tanugamamono village whose house and furniture, three cars and farm were damaged in an attack by several people.It was the result of a customary land dispute involving the families of Afu Famauina Tutuila.The 17 defendants, who are matais on the village council and include two former government MPs, are jointly responsible for paying the compensation.In his ruling, Justice Slicer said the attack on the family was a cowardly act undertaken by several young men, or taulee’a, from the village.The family of Afu Faumuina has not wanted to return to the village for fear of further violence.Several matais and the young men of the village will be sentenced next month on charges of arson, wilful damage and disturbing the peace.