By Kathy Marks, Asia-Pacific Correspondent
Published by The Independent, 23 October 2007
A week after 17 people were arrested in anti-terrorist raids, New Zealanders are asking whether their security forces foiled an astonishing plot by militant Maori separatists – or whether they made a monumental error of judgement.
Extreme secrecy surrounds the affair, with only two of the 17 detainees being identified and the media excluded from court hearings. But those held in dawn raids across the nation are said to include a mixture of white anarchists and environmental activists as well as Maori radicals.
As well as swooping on homes in cities including Auckland and Wellington, police sealed off a hamlet in the Ureweras, a mountainous area of the North Island, which they claim was the site of terrorist training camps. The isolated, thickly forested region, home to the Tuhoe tribe, is now the focus of national attention.
New Zealand is not usually associated with terrorism. The only terrorist act carried out there was the bombing of the Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, by French secret agents in Auckland harbour in 1985….
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