9 Mar 2007

Arrests after Vanuatu violence now at 160

2:57 pm on 9 March 2007

Vanuatu's Internal Affairs Minister says the state of emergency in Port Vila will remain in place until the end of next week.

George Wells says police investigations into last weekend's deadly clashes in the capital are progressing well.

Police have arrested 160 people in relation to the violence that left three people dead, several seriously injured and damage to property.

Vanuatu's detention facilities and courts are at full capacity processing them.

Mr Wells says calm has been restored in Vila but at this stage has ruled out an early end to the two-week state of emergency which started on Sunday night.

"For the time being, it's still going to be for two weeks - but depending on the investigations, prosecutions. Once the police have completed [ their work] and have assured the government and the people that there is no need for any more extension of the state of emergency, then they will advise the council of ministers."

George Wells