New Caledonia Pacific Violence

Riots shatter a peace plan

Just when the French Pacific island territory seemed finally to be edging toward independence, violence erupted. Once again a sudden burst of fury set New Caledonia's French settlers (caldoches) against the native Melanesians (Kanaks), who are struggling for independence after 131 years of French rule. Sporadic clashes between the two groups have resulted in 18 killings over the past two months. The latest outbreak was sparked by the shooting death of a 17-year-old French settler some 40 miles northwest of the capital, Noumea. Within only a few hours, more than 1,000 people, most of them caldoches, took to the streets of...

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