20 Jul 2004

Kanak graves desecrated in New Caledonia

2:30 pm on 20 July 2004

An investigation is under way in New Caledonia after eleven tombs in a Kanak graveyard were found desecrated.

The newspaper Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes reports that vandals have targeted eleven tombs of the Wamytan family in the tribal cemetery of Saint Louis, a suburb of the capital Noumea.

Tomb urns were smashed and flowers and crosses ripped off.

Stephane Wamytan was going to put flowers on his grandfather's grave on the anniversary of his death on Saturday morning when he discovered the desecration.

Graves of Europeans and Wallisians in the adjoining communal graveyard were also attacked.

Mr Wamytan says he's determined to bring the vandals to justice.

Families must choose whether to pursue the case as a tribe or as individuals.