Vanuatu under state of emergency

Police monitor the capital, Port Vila, after ethnic violence leaves two dead.

    Ethnic violence has been stoked after the recent death of a woman was blamed on witchcraft [AFP]

    "Ethnic fighting broke out on Saturday ... and two people died and another 10 were injured."

    Police said 140 people had been arrested before calm was restored to Port Vila.

     

    State of emergency

     

    A state of emergency covering the capital was declared by Kalkot Matas Kelekele, Vanuatu's president, late on Sunday and will continue for two weeks, said police.

     

    "At the moment we do not impose a curfew or road checks but that will depend on the situation," said Ben.

     

    Vanuatu's National Council of Chiefs said the government over-reacted in declaring a state of emergency.

     

    "The state of emergency is like preparing for a cyclone that has already passed," said Selwyn Garu, the council's secretary general.

     

    "The state of emergency thing will affect the country - I mean, tourism - for really no good reason at all. If you come to Port Vila now, it's peaceful, as if nothing has happened in the last few days."

     

    Vanuatu, with a population of about 200,000 people, comprises more than 80 islands and lies about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Australia.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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