14 Apr 2008

Vanuatu paramilitary force assist in recapturing escaped prisoners

7:36 pm on 14 April 2008

Seven prisoners who escaped from Vanuatu's main prison facility in Port Vila over recent weeks have been re-captured by paramilitary police.

The council of ministers issued an urgent directive late last week for the Vanuatu Mobile Force, or VMF, to assist Correctional Services in tracking the men down.

The seven were the latest in a recent wave of escapees from the Vila prison, including 22 last month who mostly returned of their own accord.

But the acting director of Correctional Services, Ben Moli, says their officers had been unable to track down the escapees, and public fear was growing over their movements, so the VMF had to be called in.

"They were not in one location. They were moving around. And that's when the public were really serious about their safety, and there were reported incidents at night during a week or so."

Ben Moli says after cautioning members of the public not to harbour the escapees, the VMF recaptured the seven and have handed them over to police.