The small heavenly island of Maré is disturbed by violence because of the appointment of a young pastor.

At least six houses and a lodge were burned down in Roh, on the island of Maré (Nengone in local language), and more than a hundred inhabitants were to leave the tribe. Pebble fights were also observed between inhabitants of this small island, which is part of the province of the Islands, also known as Loyalty Islands. The local NC la 1ère television network reports at least one injured person.

Self-proclaimed pastor
The conflict began with the appointment of a young pastor – currently a student pastor – which did not meet with the unanimous approval of the church’s congregation.
The installation of this pastor would not have respected the rules. According to the president of the EPKNC, (Protestant Church of Kanaky-New Caledonia), “a pastor cannot proclaim himself pastor of a parish like this, even if it is his home. The only institurion that has the right to do so is the regional committee or the department of ministries. »

Appeal for calm
Faced with this sudden deluge of violence, the Customary Senate, the State and the Protestant Church appealed for calm. The High Commissioner of the Republic, representing the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron, very officially requested from the Commander of the National Gendarmerie the deployment of significant means to preserve the security of goods and persons. Investigators from the Noumea Research Brigade are on the scene to conduct the investigations.

Long-standing and highly complex conflicts
In these Loyalty islands, one should not judge too quickly for the situation is always very complex. One conflict often hides another one, which can be very old.
In 2011, on the same island, four people were killed by gunfire following a dispute over the prices of plane tickets to fly to New Caledonia mainland. Behind this facade was a much deeper conflict : a long-standing land dispute between several clans. At the time, Kanak customary chiefs had agreed to mediation by religious authorities with a priest and a representative of the Evangelical Church “to renew the thread of dialogue”.


Photo > The island of Maré, approximately 200 kilometers away from Nouméa, the capital city. Credits: Google Maps.