1 May 2006

Vanuatu police seize stolen artefacts

3:56 pm on 1 May 2006

Vanuatu police have recovered stolen traditional artefacts about to be taken out of the country.

The consignment contained a stone carved sacred pig and other items from Vao Island in northwest Malekula.

Police say the carving went missing in December and detectives were alerted to look for a group of suspects from Ambrym Island who were allegedly bribed by a foreign collector from the US to remove the stone carving.

Police said the ancient stone carving was used by warriors in the cannibal days before they went into battle.

The carving was to have been shipped to the US via Noumea and Auckland.

Immigration and Customs officials intercepted the container as it was about to leave for Noumea from Port Vila International Airport.