15 Mar 2017

France sends armoured vehicles to New Caledonia police

2:30 pm on 15 March 2017

France is about to ship four armoured vehicles from Afghanistan to New Caledonia as efforts continue to maintain calm in the Noumea suburb of St Louis.

Noumea municipal police facade

Noumea municipal police facade Photo: RNZ

The French High Commissoner Thierry Lataste told the public broadcaster that an extra 130 police have been deployed to add security in St Louis after last year's unrest caused major disruptions in the area.

He says 11 people have so far been jailed in connection with the violence, while 57 people have been detained and 160 others questioned as witnesses.

Several police officers suffered gunshot wounds in operations near St Louis and Mr Lataste says a helicopter will arrive soon equipped with thermal cameras to identify spots where guns are fired.

He says 70 operations have been carried out in St Louis and 10 investigators are on site amid calls for the security forces to disarm the gunmen.

Mr Lataste also appealed for calm.

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