11 Mar 2005

French Polynesian opposition warns of witchhunt by Temaru government

10:17 am on 11 March 2005

French Polynesia's opposition has accused the new government of Oscar Temaru of engaging in a witchhunt after the head of the presidential intervention group, the GIP, was replaced.

The Tahoeraa Huiraatira says this doesn't augur well and will make reconciliation among French Polynesians more difficult.

At its first meeting, the new government removed Leonard Puputauki from the GIP leadership and replaced him with Robert Maker.

The Tahoeraa says Mr Maker is the instigator of the false accusations made against the party leader and former president, Gaston Flosse, in the case of the journalist who disappeared in Tahiti more than seven years ago.

A former spy working for the GIP alleged last year that the journalist was kidnapped and then drowned off Tahiti.

Mr Flosse has sworn that he had played no role in the man's disappearance.

The journalist's family lodged a murder complaint against unknown persons to have the case reopened.