2 Sep 2004

Suspicious fire in Vanuatu destroys provincial government offices

8:15 pm on 2 September 2004

The provincial government headquarters on the Vanuatu island of Tanna have been completely destroyed by fire.

The building had been used for the provincial government since the country's independence 24 years ago.

Police spokesman, Major Arthur Caulton says officials are working from the local police station until the Department of Provincial Affairs finds alternative arrangements.

Major Caulton says the police have not ruled out links between the fire and the recent burnings of a number of ballot boxes by frustrated political supporters.

"We believe it was arson, at this stage we haven't had any suspect or anyone responsible for the arson but our boys are working very hard on looking at how the fire started and when it was started."

Major Arthur Caulton.