11 Jun 2002

Accusations of state inaction in face of ethnic violence in New Caledonia

11:29 am on 11 June 2002

Two New Caledonian political parties have denounced what they call the state's inaction in the face of ethnic violence which yesterday claimed another life.

A 35-year-old Wallisian man died of a bullet wound after he was hit while driving his car to work.

In the past 7 months, two Kanaks have also been shot dead and about 20 others have been wounded in a stand-off between the Kanaks and the Wallisians over land use in suburban Noumea.

According to a report by the French news agency, AFP, the Alliance, led by Didier Leroux, says it is urgent that the two sides be disarmed.

The National Front has called for an immediate large-scale intervention, decrying that the security forces have not moved into the settlement.

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