29 Aug 2002

Seven senior Vanuatu police back in court on Friday week on mutiny charges

4:58 pm on 29 August 2002

Six police commanders in Vanuatu and the head of the paramilitary Vanuatu Mobile Force, are due back in court on September 6th on charges of mutiny and inciting mutiny.

They include the VMF commander, Api Jack Marikembo.

The government has confirmed that it requested a total of 27 officers be arrested because of their role in a dawn raid earlier this month to arrest 15 leading public officials, including the attorney general, on conspiracy charges.

The15 were arrested after a complaint from the then deputy police commissioner Holi Simon over the appointment of a new police commissioner.

That appointment was later quashed, as were the charges of conspiracy.

The prime minister's spokesman, Daniel Bangtor, who was one of those officials charged with conspiracy, says the government considers Mr Simon's actions were mutinuous.

"if only he had waited for the decision of the court but while his complaint was in the court he went ahead and organised some arrests and I was included. The issue was at the court and he should patiently wait and it would have been a clear victory for him"

Daniel Bangtor says the government expects some of other 20 officers involved in the arrests to be charged over the next week.