15 Apr 2020

Jail terms over raid on SLN homes in New Caledonia

5:12 pm on 15 April 2020
The conveyor belt at the Kouaoua mine.

The conveyor belt at the Kouaoua mine. Photo: SLN

The criminal court in New Caledonia has given jail sentences to two men over their raid on the homes of employees of the country's largest private sector employer, SLN.

Last week, a group of five, including a minor, broke into the nickel company's staff quarters in Kouaoua at night, setting one of the houses on fire and burning a vehicle.

They were caught a day later.

The man identified as the leader has now been imprisoned for three years, of which six months are suspended.

The child in the group was yet to face the court.

The break-in was carried out amid territory-wide restrictions on movements because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The affected residents - 10 adults and three children - managed to lock themselves in and were not injured but being in a state of shock they had been transferred to Noumea.

SLN's Kouaoua site, on the east coast of the main island, had been a frequent target in arson attacks, in particular in 2018 when operations were interrupted for weeks.

The site provided ore which was shipped to the SLN smelter in Noumea.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs