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New Caledonia: Newspaper Publisher Beaten Up

New Caledonia: Newspaper Publisher Beaten Up

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NOUMEA, February 14 (Oceania Flash) - The publisher of a satirical newspaper, "Le Chien Bleu" (Blue Heeler), Etienne Dutailly, was on Wednesday beaten up in his office by two unidentified individuals, daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports on Thursday.

The assault took place on Wednesday afternoon at around 2 p.m. local time (03:00 GMT).

Dutailly said he was visited in his office by two men, "one European and one Wallisian", who told him they wanted to provide him with some tips on a current affairs story regarding ethnic violence in a Nouméa suburb.

Dutailly said they asked him first to "close the window".

He tried to persuade them that they should talk on the terrace, but they started to beat him up.

"They first hit me with their knees, then I fell to the ground, I tried to protect my face, but they went on with their feet", the victim said.

It was only when Dutailly started to scream that the two, who got probably scared, fled the scene.

Dutailly ended up with a bleeding nose, a broken tooth and a black eye.

Le Chien Bleu, which specialises in satire, especially on the political scene, has been a regular target of threats from several components of the political spectrum in New Caledonia.

The last occurrence was in July last year, when Dutailly was assaulted by a man wearing a balaclava who beat him up with a hard pipe.

"I think those men were on a mission on someone else's behalf", he told local media.

He has filed in court for assault, saying he reserved the substance of his testimony for the case.

"I cannot say more at this stage, I think some people are disturbed by what I'm writing".

Police have launched an enquiry on the matter.



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