23 Sep 2005

Wallis airport still closed amid tension between rival clans

1:32 pm on 23 September 2005

The French authorities say the airport in Wallis cannot be used for the time being following the disturbances by supporters of the king, the Lavelua Tomasi Kolimoetoke.

The backers of the 86-year-old king have set up roadblocks across Wallis in a bid to prevent a planned coronation on Sunday of another king by rival clans.

The French administrator says clean-up efforts at the airport are being hampered because of the roadblocks.

Xavier de Furst says the French state has to offer security and ensure that the law is followed.

Police reinforcements have been sent from New Caledonia as tension has risen over the planned installation of another king.

Mr de Furst says the French state takes no side in what he calls a customary conflict.