New Caledonia: one dead and two injured at a roadblock after a fifth night of riots

One more person was killed Saturday and two injured in France's Pacific territory of New Caledonia as security personnel tried to restore order after a fifth night of riots and looting that has now claimed six lives.

The incident occurred in the archipelago's northern Kaala-Gomen area, General Nicolas Mattheos said. An informed source said the dead man and one of the injured were a father and son trying to cross a barricade erected by rioters.

Hundreds of heavily armed French soldiers and police on Saturday patrolled the capital Noumea, where streets were filled with debris.

"We're far from getting back to calm," Noumea mayor Sonia Lagarde told news channel BFMTV.

"You could describe the last two nights as calmer, but the days are all alike, each with their share of fires," she added.

AFP reporters in the city's Magenta district saw vehicles and buildings burned, with a phalanx of riot police on the scene trying to reassert government control.

Overnight, residents reported hearing gunfire, the drone of helicopters and "massive explosions" – what seemed to be gas canisters blowing up inside a building that was set alight.

For days Helene, aged 42, has been manning makeshift barricades with neighbours, taking two-to-three-hour shifts as they wait for hundreds of French security forces being flown 17,000 kilometres (10,600 miles) to impose order.

"At night we hear shooting, and things going off," she told AFP. "Helicopters, and military planes landing – which is sweet music to our ears."

For almost a week, the usually unhurried oceanside city has been convulsed.

(AFP)


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