NEW CALEDONIAN PEACE NEGOTIATOR DIES

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NOUMEA, New Caledonia (March 13, 1999 - Radio Australia)---One of the main architects of a New Caledonia peace agreement following political violence in 1988, Tom Tchako, has died.

He was an evangelist minister on the island of Ouvea, when police stormed a cave there after a separatist Kanak commando had taken a policeman hostage following an earlier raid on security forces. The two attacks left 19 Kanak separatists and six police dead.

Tchako, working with religious and political leaders, was credited with helping to heal the rift in the community stemming from the Ouvea killings.

On April 22 last year, the 10th anniversary of the separatists' raid on police, he organized a reconciliation service where police and separatists joined together to commemorate the Ouvea dead.

Tom Tchako died following a heart attack. He was 54.

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