18 Sep 2003

New Caledonian politician objects to Wallisians' removal

5:15 pm on 18 September 2003

The leader of New Caledonia's Alliance party says he is ashamed by what he describes as the ethnic cleansing which has been taking place near the capital Noumea.

The last 30 Wallisian families out of 140 which have been evacuated from their homes in Ave Maria in St Louis by the authorities, have been burning their houses before leaving the area.

Ave Maria has seen violent clashes with Kanak landowners for nearly two years, which has left three people dead and scores injured.

Didier Leroux of the Alliance says the French state has done too little too late to avoid the ethnic unrest.

"Rather than confiscating the firearms, rather than doing some police missions to prevent those things to happen, rather than arresting the people guilty of shooting at each other, you decide that it is better finally to remove the Wallisians, so it is ethnic cleansing."