The World : Rebels Seize French Judge

A French judge and seven policemen, including the leader of France's elite anti-terrorist squad, were taken hostage and held in a cave by Melanesian separatists in New Caledonia when they tried to negotiate the release of 15 officers captured earlier by tribesmen demanding independence from France, authorities said in Noumea. The hostage-taking occurred as Paris dispatched about 250 marines to New Caledonia to control the uprising that began last week. Prosecuting Magistrate Jean Bianconi and the seven officers were taken hostage on the outlying island of Ouvea, where they tried to open talks with the Melanesian separatist rebels. Capt. Philippe Legorjus, elite force commander, was reportedly allowed to establish radio contact with French officials and requested food and blankets for the hostages. Separatist violence erupted in the South Pacific archipelago in 1984.

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