15 Dec 2016

Man jailed for threatening police in New Caledonia

12:47 pm on 15 December 2016

The criminal court in New Caledonia has jailed a man for two years for making death threats against a police officer.

Thirty-one-year-old Rock Wamytan of St Louis was found guilty of telling the police over the phone last month that he would shut down the road south of Noumea, and threatened to unleash a civil war and even kill a police officer.

Wamytan, who is also known as Banane, is the first person to be convicted in connection with the latest phase of unrest near St Louis which began in October after police shot dead an unarmed prison escapee driving a stolen car.

Wamytan denied accusations that he was among those who used firearms and targeted travellers and police officers along the road near St Louis.

Clashes closed the road for up to three days and prompted police to change their policy of engagement by now firing back if they are shot at.

Police are concerned about the high level of violence and say 54 officers have been injured this year so far.

The French government said it would send another 53 officers to New Caledonia early next year.

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