10 Mar 2008

Nauru asks Australia to send arson experts after fire damages main police station

4:28 pm on 10 March 2008

The Government of Nauru has asked Australia to provide arson specialists to assist in its investigations into a fire on Friday night which severely damaged the island's main police station.

A team of four Australian Federal police personnel, including two arson investigators will arrive in Nauru early tomorrow morning to join the investigating team.

Nauru's acting police minister, Mathew Batsiua, says it is thought that the incident is linked to opponents of the reformist government, who have been encouraged to cause disruption by their member of Parliament and opposition leader, Rene Harris.

Mr Batsuia says substantial damage was caused to the police building and that police have suspicions about who was behind the incident, which is why specialised arson investigators are being brought in.

He confirmed that there had been earlier threats made against a number of government-owned utilities leading up to the fire, which had resulted in a heightened police presence over the weekend.

He says the perpetrators could face heavy jail terms under new legislation brought in last year.