14 May 2004

Chiefs warn against opposition committees forming in American Samoa village

1:52 pm on 14 May 2004

Matai, or chiefs, of a village in the Eastern District of American Samoa are reportedly making it difficult for gubernatorial teams, challenging the incumbent administration, to form village committees.

Reports from the village indicate the leading chiefs have warned that any family who goes against the current administration ahead of the election later this year will be 'dealt with'.

Monica Miller reports from Pago Pago:

"In this particular village the only committee that has been meeting and has boards and other things set up is the Togiola Ipulasi camp, and I have interviewed people in the village who say that they're afraid to even put up a sign in their front yard to show they are supporting a different candidate because they fear their families will be dealt with, they fear the repercussions, and some of the statements made by some of these Matais say that families can actually be banished from the village. We have had reports about this sort of thing in previous elections but no one has actually ever come out to the media and said Yes, it's actually happening."

Monica Miller reporting from Pago Pago.