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NOUMÉA, New Caledonia (September 3, 2001 - Oceania Flash/SPC)---A new organized group was established in New Caledonia last week to closely monitor new religious sects in the French Pacific territory, which have the potential of causing problems, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

The French High Commission in New Caledonia, representing the French government, is said to be taking "very seriously" the possibility of "menace" from the new groups.

Members of the newly appointed committee include representatives from the traditional Catholic and Protestant churches, as well as justice, police and administration officials.

The group’s goals include assessing the number of religious groups in New Caledonia and, if need be, take action against possible those causing community problems.

The newspaper said New Caledonia is a particularly fertile ground for small religious groups and small-time "gurus."

Among the targets for the new groups, according to the newspaper, are dwellers of shantytowns in the suburbs of Nouméa, where "a population that has been uprooted from the tribal system, but not yet integrated to urban society" lives.

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