5 Dec 2016

Five held over New Caledonia clashes

8:05 pm on 5 December 2016

Police in New Caledonia say they have detained five people in connection with the recent clashes south of Noumea during which five police officers suffered gunshot injuries

French police officers stand guard on a road in Mont-Dore, a suburb of Noumea, in New Caledonia, on May 28, 2014, while a tow lifts the wreckage of a burned car. Angry residents from the Saint Louis tribal group burned cars creating roadblocks on May 24, 2014

Photo: AFP

The local newspaper quotes the prosecutor's office as having said the arrests were carried out in St Louis near Noumea and in Canala, in the territory's north, following various difficult operations.

One of the people detained was reportedly a minor.

Last week, there were at least two police operations which prompted the brief road closure of the main road near St Louis.

The south of the main island was repeatedly cut off by the clashes near St Louis during which guns were fired at the motorists and dozens of stolen cars were dumped and set alight.

The longest closure lasted three days, which triggered anger among residents and led to calls to build another road to bypass the St Louis area.

The violence worsened a month ago after police shot dead an unarmed prison escapee driving a stolen car.

The shooting was still being investigated.

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