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Telecom built unauthorized tower on sacred ground

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Aug. 23, 2010) - The chiefs on the island of Pentecost in Vanuatu have demanded 10 tusked pigs from the telecoms provider, Digicel.

This comes after Digicel was deemed by the chiefs to have damaged an historical site on the island when it started building a mobile phone tower.

[PIR editor’s note: Because of Digicel’s "lack of respect", over 200 custom dignitaries gathered at Tambok to convey their disappointment and order the removal of the tower. See previous story.]

The director of the Vanuatu Cultural Centre, Marcelin Ambong says 10 tusked pigs is the highest penalty the chiefs can impose for wrongdoing.

He says the pigs are an offering to restore the peace following the violation of their historical site at Langare.

Digicel has agreed to remove the tower, replant trees and to install a panel to inform visitors about Langare.

Mr. Ambong says it’s a lesson for foreign investors to respect Vanuatu custom.

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