30 May 2012

Vanuatu may seek foreign help to recapture escapees

1:38 pm on 30 May 2012

Vanuatu says it may seek foreign assistance to help catch four inmates still on the run.

The prime minister, Sato Kilman, says his government will make sure that all members of the para-military Vanuatu Mobile Force and the police are armed to hunt for the four escapees.

Two of the group of escapees were recaptured at the weekend and about 50 people were arrested for harbouring the prisoners.

Mr Kilman has called for the maximum penalty to be given to those protecting them, which is three years in jail.

Mr Kilman, who is a former police commissioner, says his government will make sure that the four still on the run are back in jail before international delegates arrive for next month's ACP/EU conference.

Vanuatu has already invited Indonesian advisors.

This month it expelled the Australian Federal Police members after Canberra allegedly breached protocol when Mr Kilman was in transit in Sydney.