10 Jun 2002

Wallisian man shot dead in New Caledonia

3:31 pm on 10 June 2002

Police in New Caledonia say a Wallisian man has been shot dead in the Noumea suburb of St Louis - the scene of a recent ethnic stand-off with indigenous Kanaks.

Police say the 35-year old man was hit in the chest by a bullet fired from the Kanak area of St Louis while he was driving in his car.

A report by the French news agency, AFP, says he managed to get to a police post a few hundred metres away but died of his wound shortly afterwards.

An investigation has been opened into the circumstances of the shooting.

The victim was the first Wallisian to be shot dead in the area where since December two Kanaks have been killed and about 20 others injured.

Tension in St Louis between Kanaks and Wallisians has prompted the government of the southern province to offer resettlement to the Wallisians, with 40 families taking up the option.