27 Aug 2018

New Caledonia prison escapee recaptured after three years

3:18 pm on 27 August 2018

Police in New Caledonia have recaptured a prison escapee who had been on the run for almost three years.

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Photo: 123RF

Samuel Moika was caught in St Louis south of Noumea after breaking out of the Camp Est jail while serving three separate sentences.

The public prosecutor said an attempt in January to arrest Moika was abandoned after police officers were shot at with a high-powered weapon.

While on the run, Moika has been given two more jail terms, totalling 13 years for his involvement in the 2016 and 2017 riots near St Louis.

The unrest, which was the territory's worst this decade, was triggered by the fatal shooting by police of a prison escapee William Decoire in a stolen vehicle near St Louis.

The incident has remained controversial.

Police were first cleared of any wrongdoing, but in May an officer was indicted after Decoire's mother accused the security forces of committing voluntary homicide.