11 Jun 2002

Wallisian community meets French high commissioner after killing in New Caledonia

4:15 am on 11 June 2002

Representatives of the Wallis and Futuna community from St Louis in Noumea in New Caledonia have met the French High Commissioner, Thierry Lataste, following the killing of a Wallisian man on Monday morning.

35-year-old Petelo Motuku was shot in the torso near the Ave Maria Catholic Mission in St Louis, as he was driving to work.

He managed to drive to a nearby police post, where he was given first aid, but died before he could be taken to hospital.

It is the third recent killing after an outbreak of ethnic violence over the presence of Wallisian immigrants in the mainly Kanak community.

The tension in St Louis has prompted the government of the southern province to offer resettlement to the Wallisians, with 40 families so far taking up the option.

About one thousand Wallisians have been living in the suburb.

There is no news yet on the outcome of the talks with Mr Lataste.