16 Nov 2016

Call for French army to fight New Caledonia unrest

12:47 pm on 16 November 2016

A New Caledonian anti-independence party has called for the French army to be deployed to contain the lawlessness south of Noumea where gunmen have repeatedly attacked road users and blocked the main road.

The Union for Caledonia in France has written to the French High Commissioner, saying the disruptions are unacceptable and would not be tolerated anywhere else in France.

It said the military forces already in the territory should be used to help disarm the gunmen who have taken the local population hostage with impunity.

It said it is fortunate that none of the commuters have been seriously hurt by the rocks that have been thrown and the guns that have been fired.

However at the end of October, five policemen suffered gun shot injuries when gunmen blocked the road for three days with dozens of stolen vehicles which were set alight.

There has been no arrest.

The French government has condemned the violence and decided to send an extra 53 police officers to New Caledonia in February.

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