1 Feb 2023

Vanuatu police seek help from Australia over fire at traditional meeting house

12:07 pm on 1 February 2023
Vanuatu’s Police Commissioner Robson Iavro

Vanuatu's Police Commissioner Robson Iavro Photo: RNZ Pacific/Hilaire Bule

Vanuatu Police have requested the assistance of the Australian Federal Police to find out if the burning down of a traditional meeting house or nakamal,was arson.

The Malvatumauri Nakamal is a custom parliament for all Vanuatu's chiefs.

Vanuatu's Police Commissioner Robson Iavro said their forensics counterparts from Australia will assist the Vanuatu Police Force to find the cause of the blaze at the Malvatumauri Nakamal in the capital Port Vila.

The Malvatumauri Nakamal was destroyed by fire Photo: Vanuatu Daily Post

RNZ Pacific correspondent Hilaire Bule said the cost of the Nakamal was more than 100 million Vatu - about $US850,000 - and was co-financed by the Vanuatu and Australian governments.

Due to the damage caused by the fire, all business activities at the Malvatumauri headquarters premises, such as kava bars, have been put on hold until further notice.