4 Dec 2012

11 police in Vanuatu arrested in ongoing row over who is legitimate police commissioner

5:05 pm on 4 December 2012

11 police officers were arrested early this morning in Vanuatu in the longstanding dispute over who is the country's legitimate police commissioner.

The officers had already been suspended by the Police Service Commission and the acting Commissioner, Arthur Caulton.

Police chief of staff, Ron Tamtam, says officers made the arrests in the early hours of this morning.

They face allegations of mutiny, inciting mutiny, kidnapping and unlawful arrest after they had attempted to arrest Mr Caulton and other two police senior officers.

Mr Tamtam says the former commissioner, Joshua Bong, is also to be arrested as is the suspended commander of the Vanuatu Mobile Force, Aru Maralau and another four senior officers.

He said police officers had gone to the homes of the six officers but they were not there and are believed to be in hiding.

Mr Tamtam has appealed to the public not to interfere in police operations.