10 Feb 2005

Kanak leaders to reappear in New Caledonia court in April

2:48 pm on 10 February 2005

Two Kanak leaders who were detained for their role in a blockade of a nickel mining site in New Caledonia last week have been told to re-appear in court in April.

Raphael Mapou and Andre Vama belong to a Kanak group demanding a fresh look at the environmental impact of the Goro nickel project in the south of the main island.

The project is being carried out by the Canadian nickel company, Inco, and is estimated to cost about 2 billion US dollars.

The group, Rhebu Nuu, wants the provincial government to put the project on hold for an international impact study to be carried out.

An estimated 300 people took part in a protest in Noumea in support of the two defendants and press reports say barricades were set up south of Noumea where masked men burnt tyres.