6 Mar 2007

Government was warned about Blacksands tensions, says Vanuatu opposition leader

7:47 pm on 6 March 2007

Vanuatu's Opposition leader says the government had been warned about the rising tensions in Port Vila's Blacksands squatter settlement last week.

Serge Vohor has accused the government of mishandling the violent clashes that took place there on the weekend, leaving three people dead, and several seriously injured besides burning and looting of property.

Fighting erupted over an allegation that a man from Ambrym had stabbed a Tannese at the settlement, and in return an Ambrym man was also stabbed to death.

Another Ambrym man later died in hospital.

Mr Vohor said the government had earlier been given reports from the Criminal Investigations division of the Police earlier last week that trouble was brewing at Blacksands:

"If they followed the report from the special branch (CID) who submitted the report on Tuesday, they (the government) should have taken precaution so that maybe they would prevent what is happening. But at the time we tried to call them and call the police but no one was available, everybody was out - so, in that time, no security in the country."