Man shot dead by police in New Caledonia | Nation-world

French police shot dead a suspected gunman in New Caledonia on Wednesday, local prosecutors said, bringing the death toll to 10 in nearly two months of unrest in the French Pacific territory.

The suspect was killed in a shootout in the Mont-Dore district, near Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia, where police were deployed to clear roadblocks.

When police came under fire, members of the GIGN’s elite tactical unit covering the operation returned fire, killing the man, a source close to the case told AFP.

A second source familiar with the matter said police had been deployed to arrest people responsible for armed attacks that have become common in the area, but had themselves come under fire while clearing a main road.

Unrest broke out in mid-May in New Caledonia, nearly 17,000 kilometres from Paris, over a plan to expand the electoral rolls that indigenous Kanaks fear would leave them in a permanent minority and dash their hopes for independence.

Some barricaded roads and burned or looted cars, businesses and public buildings, prompting Paris to send in thousands of soldiers and police in response.

The electoral change, which requires amending the French constitution, has been in limbo since President Emmanuel Macron dissolved parliament for new elections that produced a lower house without a clear majority on Sunday.

But the unrest was again fuelled by the arrests of pro-independence figures on June 19.

Of the 13 people accused of helping to orchestrate the riots, five have been imprisoned in mainland France awaiting trial.

The most famous of them is Christian Tein, from the pro-independence group CCAT, whom Paris accuses of being behind the violence.

cm-alh/tgb/dc/js