21 Dec 2005

Wallisian man killed in brawl with Kanaks in New Caledonia

4:15 pm on 21 December 2005

It's emerged a Wallisian man was fatally stabbed during a brawl with Kanak youths in the New Caledonian capital Noumea on Monday this week.

Local reports say the man, 21-year-old Pessamino Manogi, became involved in a brawl in Païta, in suburban Noumea, with a group of young Kanaks.

There have been three arrests and another ten have been questioned by police.

The confrontation followed an earlier incident, last month, between the two groups.

The Païta Mayor, Harold Martin, who is also chairman of New Caledonia's Congress, says for the past three weeks, a gang of young people has been terrorising the neighbourhood and causing significant damage to public property.

The incident is sparking grave concerns in the local Wallisian and Kanak communities since it has the potential to re-ignite the ethnic tension between the two groups which flared in Saint Louis for three years from 2001 and resulted in three deaths.

That tension was only eased after the Wallisians were moved to new housing outside the district.