Ouvea is an island paradise in the French archipelago of New Caledonia and one of the most beautiful atolls in the Pacific, with sandy white beaches and crystal clear waters. But Ouvea is also the site of tragedy - that of spring, 1988.
On May 5, 1988, three days before the second round of French presidential elections, the army stormed a cave on the island where Kanak separatists were holding 27 gendarmes hostage. Although the controversial operation secured the release of all the hostages, it cost 21 people their lives - 19 separatists and two soldiers.
Today, a quarter of a century later, Ouvea has become a test laboratory for the peaceful coexistence of the archipeligo's various cultural, economic and social spheres. A Kanak middle class has even emerged. Our reporter returned to Ouvea to see.
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