VANUATU HAS PROBLEMS WITH PARAMILITARY GROUP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (Oct. 24, 2002 – Radio Australia)---There are concerns in Vanuatu that a group established by the government to assist the Vanuatu mobile force is refusing to disband.

Government spokesman Daniel Bangtor has confirmed the group of young men from the island of Tanna, who now live near Port Vila airport, were employed and given training to assist the mobile force.

Bangtor says the unarmed group was employed for 10 days two months ago, when the mobile force was involved in arresting a number of officers on mutiny charges.

The force was instructed to disband the group after the council of chiefs called a customary reconciliation.

However, despite it being no longer sanctioned by the government or the force, the group remains together.

A spokesperson for Transparency International in Vanuatu says the difficulty in disbanding the group has people drawing comparisons with the divisions in Solomon Islands.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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