Police arrested President George Ati Sokomanu and searched his official residence Wednesday, five days after he tried to dissolve the legislature of the South Pacific island nation, family members and diplomats said.

An Australian foreign affairs spokesman in Canberra confirmed reports by Sokomanu's relatives that the president was remanded in custody after appearing in a Port Vila court charged with inciting mutiny.The reports of Sokomanu's arrest came as political opponents took steps to have him removed from office on charges of treason. About 20 uniformed and plainclothes officers searched Sokomanu's official residence and took him to police headquarters for questioning, his relatives said.