11 Oct 2002

Vanuatu government says militia rumours aimed at discrediting it

12:25 pm on 11 October 2002

The Vanuatu government has again been forced to publicly dismiss rumours involving the police.

The Prime Minister's spokesman, Daniel Bangtor, says there is no truth in claims that a militia is being raised by the police paramilitary wing, the Vanuatu Mobile Force or VMF.

Last week, Mr Bangtor rejected claims by the Deputy Prime Minister that Australian police advisors were spies and undermined Vanuatu's sovereignty.

The latest rumours follow a series of controversial events involving the police, including the charging of eight senior officers with mutiny, after a complaint from the government.

But Mr Bangtor says the VMF is loyal to the Government, and it has no resources for such an activity.

He says the rumours are an attempt to discredit the Government.

"The prime minister pointed out that there are certain people, including some chiefs, who sort of supported the move taken by the police officers - simply to take advantage of the situation to discredit the government."