25 Nov 2015

Wallis airport blocked by villagers

2:48 pm on 25 November 2015
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Photo: AFP

Flights to and from the French Pacific island of Wallis have been cut after villagers occupied the airport at Hihifo, stranding hundreds of passengers.

The public broadcaster says the action was taken in a bid to get the airport to hire two locals.

A traditional leader is quoted as saying that the airport is on customary land on the basis that, in return, the airport gives jobs to the people of Hihifo.

Flights by New Caledonia's carrier, Aircalin, have been cancelled, including those scheduled for tomorrow.

The French prefect says the territory and its population have been taken hostage by the interest of a few.

He has ruled out negotiations while the blockade continues and has threatened to take legal action.