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Police arrest third of South Pacific army

More than 100 members of Vanuatu's paramilitary force, which abducted the South Pacific nation's President last month in a pay dispute, were arrested yesterday, the Justice Minister, Father Walter Lini, said.

"The law and order of Vanuatu is now in the hands of the Vanuatu police force," Fr Lini said from the capital, Port Vila. The police said that 138 of the 300-strong Vanuatu Mobile Force, which is in effect Vanuatu's army, had been arrested.

The VMF claims the government has failed to pay its members special duty allowances amounting to pounds 700,000 since 1992.

On 12 October, the VMF abducted the President, Jean-Marie Leye, from his home and forced him to fly to a nearby island where he was kept for several hours. The cabinet resolved to pay the allowance by the end of October, but no payment has been made. Port Vila - Reuter