7 Aug 2002

Vanuatu government defers action against police in revolt over commissioner appointment

11:34 am on 7 August 2002

The Vanuatu Prime Minister Edward Natapei says the Government is not planning any immediate action against the police who arrested 15 officials, including the new police commissioner and the attorney general.

They were in detention for nearly a day after being charged with involvement in a conspiracy over the appointment of the new police commissioner, Mael Apisai.

Mr Natapei says he believes the police acted illegally in not first seeking warrants for the arrests, but he says the government will wait for the conspiracy charges to be heard in court.

That hearing is set down for August 19th.

"If the court were to rule that in fact there was no case and the arrests were truly unlawful then it will be up to the government to decide what sort of action it can take then but at this stage we don't see any action that would be taken by the government."

Edward Natapei says he understands the police acted after hearing reports that the new commissioner planned to sack several dozen of those who were opposed to his appointment.