19 Mar 2007

Vanuatu ends state of emergency

3:22 pm on 19 March 2007

A State of Emergency in Vanuatu's capital Port Vila following deadly tribal clashes earlier in the month has lapsed.

The two-week state of emergency finished at midnight last night, bringing an end to provisions which restricted movement in and around the capital and gave police extra powers to use firearms.

Police presence on the streets had also been increased and public meetings forbidden.

The provisions had been declared after fighting on the edge of Vila at start of the month left three people dead in a conflict between Tanna and Ambrym islanders from the near Blacksands squatter settlement.

The Internal Affairs Minister, George Wells, says there is no need to extend the emergency provisions, but that the police investigations into the violence are continuing.

More than 140 people have been arrested in connection to the clashes.

Nine people face charges, including one man facing a murder charge.