Karembeu family members killed in New Caledonia

Christian Karembeu
Christian Karembeu is from New Caledonia and moved to mainland France to play for Nantes as a teenager [Getty Images]

French World Cup winner Christian Karembeu says his niece and nephew have been killed during violence in New Caledonia.

Seven people have been killed during trouble in the French Pacific territory, where Karembeu was born, following controversial voting reforms.

Karembeu, 53, is a strategic advisor and ambassador for Greek club Olympiakos, who play Fiorentina in Wednesday's Europa Conference League final in Athens.

"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," ex-Middlesbrough midfielder Karembeu told Europe 1.

"We hope that there will be investigations into these murders."

Protests in New Caledonia, a group of islands between Australia and Fiji, have been led by the indigenous Kanak community, of whom Karembeu is a member.

Currently, voting in the territory is restricted to indigenous Kanaks and those who arrived from France before 1998.

The planned reform would see more French residents - including any who have been in New Caledonia for at least 10 years - able to vote.

Karembeu moved to mainland France at the age of 17 to pursue a professional football career and won 53 caps for the national team including in the 1998 World Cup win.

He also played for Nantes, Sampdoria, Real Madrid, Olympiakos, Servette and Bastia.