Location of the commune (in red) within New Caledonia
|Sui generis collectivity||New Caledonia|
|• Mayor||Boniface Ounou|
|Area1||132.1 km2 (51.0 sq mi)|
|Population (2004 census)2||4,359|
|• Density||33/km2 (85/sq mi)|
|• 1996 census||Kanaks 98.8%
|INSEE/Postal code||98820 / 98814|
|Elevation||0–46 m (0–151 ft)
(avg. 2 m or 6.6 ft)
1 New Caledonia Land Register (DITTT) data, which exclude lakes and ponds larger than 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) as well as the estuaries of rivers.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Ouvéa (local pronunciation: [uˈve.a]) is a commune in the Loyalty Islands Province of New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. The settlement of Fayaoué [faˈjawe], on Ouvéa Island, is the administrative centre of the commune.
In April 1988, a hostage taking took place on Ouvéa. Four gendarmes were killed and twenty-seven were held hostage in a cave by supporters of the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front. Twelve of the captured gendarmes were released after a while, but six members of a French anti-terrorist squad were also taken hostage. When negotiations to release the hostages did not succeed, French security forces besieged the cave and freed them. Eighteen Kanaks and two gendarmes were left dead. In the aftermath it was alleged that three Kanaks had been executed or left to die after being arrested.
The native languages of Ouvéa are the Melanesian Iaai and the Polynesian Faga Uvea, which is the only Polynesian language that has taken root in New Caledonia. Speakers of Faga Uvea have fully integrated into the Kanak society and consider themselves Kanak.
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