2 Nov 2016

Calm in New Caledonia after clashes

3:19 pm on 2 November 2016

Reports from New Caledonia say calm has returned to the stretch of road blocked for three days by armed unrest but that one vehicle was stoned overnight.

Negotiations involving traditional and local leaders as well as the French state allowed for the clean-up of the road between Noumea and Mont-Dore which was blocked by armed youths whose gunshots injured five policemen on Sunday.

An estimated 50 stolen cars were set alight by young men to block the road near St Louis after police shot dead a 23-year-old prison escapee William Decoire early on Saturday.

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Police say they acted in self-defence when shooting 23 year old William Decoire Photo: 123 RF

The authorities say police acted in self-defence but a tribal leader from St Louis, Roch Wamytan, said the victim's family is poised to lodge a formal complaint to establish the facts.

He told the local daily newspaper that none of the young people was armed when their stolen vehicle was stopped by police.

William Decoire had 19 convictions and was on the run since June last year.

The only person arrested over the incident so far is one of the passengers of the stolen car.

The clashes cut off road links to the southernmost part of the mainland, leading to broad supply shortages.

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