23 Dec 2005

Young man in New Caledonia charged with murder of Wallisian

5:08 pm on 23 December 2005

An 18-year-old man in New Caledonia has been remanded in custody after being charged with killing a 21-year-old Wallisian man.

The newspaper Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes reports the man is being held at Camp Est prison in Noumea after he was arrested following the death of Pesamino Magoni earlier this week.

Reports say the victim had been playing volleyball in the suburb of Paita when he became involved in a brawl with a group of young Kanaks.

The murder comes after several months of community tension including verbal abuse and xenophobic graffiti, sometimes directed at Europeans but mostly at Wallisian settlers.

Three people died during three years of tension between Kanaks and Wallisians which began in Saint Louis district of Noumea in 2001.

And 171 Wallisian and Futunian families forced to leave the suburb of Saint Louis in 2003 have reached a deal with New Caledonian authorities to finance their search for permanent new homes.

The Wallisian website Uvea Mo Futuna reports the president of New Caledonia's southern province, Philippe Gomes, has signed an agreement with the two family associations.

A two-year aid progamme will give each family a grant of approximately US$5,000 towards securing new property, and council officials will give help for bank loan applications