29 Aug 2003

Violence in St Louis creates discussions by Noumea authorities

10:14 am on 29 August 2003

Authorities in New Caledonia are trying to organise discussions with village elders from the Kanak and Wallis and Futuna communities following renewed violence in St Louis.

However, some Kanak elders are unwilling to meet, and have condemned a police operation carried out in St Louis earlier this week.

Since the operation, fighting has increased between St Louis' two communities.

On Wednesday, vandals damaged a high voltage electricity line that runs past the village, reportedly affecting the power supply to Noumea's nickel smelter.

In an agreement last December, the Kanaks negotiated the departure of all the Wallisian families from the village and local authorities undertook to resettle them.

More than 120 families have already left, but housing is still to be found for the about 30 remaining families.

Authorities have now set the deadline of September the 15th to resettle all families.