VANUATU CAPITAL RETURNING TO NORMAL FOLLOWING RIOT

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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (January 14, 1998 - PACNEWS)---Life in the Vanuatu capital, Port Vila, is returning to normal following Monday's riot by over 300 members of the Vanuatu National Provident Fund.

Shops, restaurants, banks and other businesses have re-opened for normal business and the capital now is calm, following Prime Minister Serge Vohor announcement that the government had agreed to demands for all money paid into the retirement fund to be returned to members. Members were angered by an Ombudsman's report which pointed out that politicians received preferential treatment under the fund's housing loan program, which paid out about a million U.S. dollars.

Traditional chiefs are helping to calm the situation.

President Jean-Marie Leye Tuesday night announced a state of emergency to help return stability to the country.

Prime Minister Vohor said on Radio Vanuatu that the state of emergency will continue for two weeks, during which time the VNPF board will prepare plans to pay members all funds due.

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