12 Sep 2012

Caledonian Union president dies in Vanuatu following traditional operation

6:55 am on 12 September 2012

The president of New Caledonia's oldest pro-independence party, the Caledonian Union, has died on Tanna Island in Vanuatu after complications from a traditional operation.

The director of the hospital on Tanna, Louis Naling, says Charles Pidjot was already dead by the time he was taken to the hospital.

He says complications arose after an operation performed by local men on Mr Pidjot to try to ease years of back pain after a car accident.

Mr Naling says the men were not aware Mr Pidjot was diabetic.

Negotiations are now underway to repatriate his body to Port Vila sometime today to be sent back to New Caledonia.

Our correspondent says the Island of Tanna is well known for its traditional operation by custom healers.