A Vanuatu chief has called on the government and on China not to go ahead with a planned fish processing factory until the rightful customary landowners on Forari are identified.
Earlier this month, the Vanuatu government paid some land owners just over one million US dollars to lease 30 hectares of land in Forari.
Chief Louis Manasako of Tongoa island says the deal should be stopped because the appeal court is yet to rule on who the rightful owners are.
The ministry of land says lower courts have identified the land owners and the appeal is likely to confirm the ruling.
The ministry may get a court order to stop Tongoa people from entering the Forari land in question.
Meanwhile, police have arrested a group of people from Tongoa after they assaulted a real estate developer, Levi Tarosa, believed to be linked to the project.