French World Cup winner Christian Karembeu says two relatives have been killed in New Caledonia

French former football player Christian Karembeu poses with the FIFA World Cup trophy during a ceremony in Lahore on June 7, 2022 Picture: Arif Ali/AFP via Getty ImagesFrench former football player Christian Karembeu poses with the FIFA World Cup trophy during a ceremony in Lahore on June 7, 2022 Picture: Arif Ali/AFP via Getty Images
French former football player Christian Karembeu poses with the FIFA World Cup trophy during a ceremony in Lahore on June 7, 2022 Picture: Arif Ali/AFP via Getty Images | AFP via Getty Images
World Cup winner Christian Karembeu says two relatives have been killed during trouble in French territory New Caledonia

World Cup winner Christian Karembeu has revealed two relatives have been killed during unrest in the French Pacific territory New Caledonia.

The 53-year-old, currently working as a strategic advisor and ambassador for former club Olympiacos, spoke of the loss of a nephew and a niece during a radio interview in France.

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Karembeu, who was born in New Caledonia, told Europe 1: “I lost members of my family. That’s why I remained silent, because I’m in mourning. Two people in my family were shot in the head.”

Asked if he believed they had been assassinated, he added: “The word is strong, but these are murders and we hope that there will be investigations and investigations into these murders.”

France took control of New Caledonia in 1853 under Emperor Napoleon III, Napoleon’s nephew and heir. It became an overseas territory after the Second World War, with French citizenship granted to all Kanaks in 1957. The French government imposed a state of emergency for at least 12 days on May 15 amid violent protests which saw seven people killed, two of them police officers, as the French legislature in Paris debated electoral reforms in the region.

Opponents fear the measures will benefit pro-France politicians in New Caledonia, where pro-independence Indigenous Kanaks have long pushed to be free of France amid sharp economic disparities. French president Emmanuel Macron decided on Monday to lift the state of emergency.

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Karembeu, who is Kanak, grew up on the island of Lifou, but moved to France as a teenager. He enjoyed a hugely successful playing career which brought him two Champions League winners’ medals with Real Madrid and World Cup glory with France in 1998.

Karembeu, who at one point was married to Slovakian supermodel Adriana Sklenarikova, started his professional career with Nantes and also had spells with Sampdoria and Middlesbrough.

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