Six police hurt in New Caledonia clashes

NOUMEA (AFP) - Six policemen were injured in New Caledonia on Sunday (Oct 30)- five of them shot - in clashes sparked by a man's death during a stop and search operation, authorities said.

The unrest broke out in Mont Dore, a suburb of the French overseas territory's main city Noumea, as officers attempted to clear a highway of vehicles that had been torched during the night following the death.

Police were targeted with firearms and projectiles during the clear-up operation, which was subsequently abandoned.

There were calls for calm from the president of New Caledonia's government and from the Mont Dore mayor.

Authorities said the man, aged 23, had escaped from Noumea Prison in June 2015 and had a history of aggravated theft and violent crime.

He was shot dead by a "very experienced police officer" who feared his colleague's life was in danger during the traffic stop and search, a statement from prosecutor Alexis Bouroz said, after the man began reversing his vehicle in the direction of one of the policemen.