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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 26) – Police have released 91 suspects to their chiefs while nine suspects are still in custody awaiting trial in connection to the March 3 violence in the Capital, which left three people dead.

Others have had their statements taken and been released.

Violence erupted at the Cross Road ‘nakamal’ on the turn in to Black Sands in a failed meeting on March 3 concerning an allegation of use of ‘nakaimas’ or black magic, which supposedly caused the death of a woman from Lamap who was married to a man from Tanna.

The violence erupted based on an allegation that someone from Baiap had used black magic to cause her death. The mob went on rampage looking for the suspect from Baiap who lived together with people from Sesivi.

This was when things went out of control.

A victim from Sesivi recalled, "I also went with the men from Ambrym to attend the meeting because we wanted to listen. We had nothing to do with any ‘nakaimas’. The Tannese wanted to hold the meeting deep in the Black Sands interior. We refused to go there for fear of being surrounded and attacked...

Police Chief of Staff Willie Ben confirmed one suspect from Ambrym (who is to be tried for the death of a man from Tanna), a suspect from Epi and another from Italy/Lamap and the rest are from White Sands.

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