Skip to comments.FRENCH SOLDIERS FACE CHARGES IN IVORY COAST MURDER
Posted on 12/16/2005 9:34:52 AM PST by Atlantic Bridge
AFP is reporting a French sergeant-major was placed under judicial investigation for murder on Wednesday over the death of an Ivorian man in French military custody in Ivory Coast in May. A source close to the inquiry said the non-commissioned officer had admitted under questioning his responsibility in the act.
Firmin Mahe, described by the French army as a dangerous bandit, was killed by suffocation by French soldiers in an armored vehicle on May 13 after being shot in the leg, then captured and taken for treatment by French soldiers. He died in a jeep on the way to hospital.
Three French soldiers were arrested on Monday as part of the same investigation. The soldiers were expected to appear before an investigating magistrate, who will determine whether to place them under formal investigation for suspected murder - one step short of formal charges.
All of the men, who were part of the French peacekeeping mission in the Ivory Coast, are being held in France.
General Henri Poncet, who was in command of the 4 000-strong French peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast until June, was relieved of his functions due to a suspected cover-up of the killing. General Henri Bentegeat told journalists that the sanctions pronounced by Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie against General Henri Poncet and his second-in-command General Renaud de Malaussene were "very heavy." He said it was the first time for at least 15 years that a French general had received such a punishment.
Earlier this month, the Defense Ministry said that commanders knew of the killing but did not report it to their superiors. "The commander of Operation Unicorn (General Henri Poncet) was informed of the facts but did not inform his hierarchy," a French Defense Ministry report found.
The head of France's armed forces, Gen. Henri Bentegeat, called the events "unacceptable at every level." Gen. Bentegeat, said the punishment of General Henri Poncet, the former commander of French peacekeepers in the west African country, and his deputy, Renaud de Malaussène, was the highest non-statutory sanction the ministry could have taken.
According to Le Monde, the internal report for the Defense Ministry by Admiral Patrick Hebrard contained evidence that General Poncet was aware of the killing within 24 hours. Yet when General Bentegeat visited Ivory Coast four days after the killing it was not mentioned. In July this year, General Poncet was decorated with the French Cross of Valour by President Chirac.
The killing of Mahé, described as a member of a gang that set up roadblocks to extort money from passing vehicles, came at a time of extreme tension between French peacekeepers and the Ivorian government of Laurent Gbagbo. France's 4,000-strong Licorne peacekeeping force has been stationed in the former colony since civil war started in September 2003.
President Gbagbo, who is clinging to power after ignoring a United Nations power-sharing deadline, has long argued that France favors northern-based rebels who want to remove him from power. Mahé was killed a few days after mercenaries hired by the government attacked French positions. In the same period, French troops opened fire on civilians demonstrating against their presence outside a hotel in the commercial capital, Abidjan.
While observers have welcomed the openness by the French defense ministry over the Mahé killing, they claim it disguises other abuses by French troops that have gone unpunished. Sources: OCNUS.NET, MISNA, News 24 (South Africa), AFP, Pravda
http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,390818,00.html (Sorry. In German...)
This guy from Ivory Coast was a known gangster who fled from the French troops after they wanted to force him into one of their tanks. The French soldiers shot into his leg after they searched for him over several hours. When they got him they put him into a armored vehicle and suffocated him with a plastic bag. They obviously recieved a order from colonel Eric Burgaud to do so. Colonel Burgaud claims that he got order from the four-star-General Henri Poncet. Poncet rejects this accusation.
It is somehow sad since Poncet was one of the most molded soldiers in France. Absolutely no sissy and extremely correct. To me it is quite likely that the whole affair is a plot of the French defense minister Madame Alliot-Marie and some of her vassals in the French General Staff to get rid of Poncet since she rejected his unconventional methods.
Here is some more information over Poncet on the KFOR-HP:
The French should end their neocolonial BS in Africa immediately. There is no benefit from such actions for anybody. Not even for themselves.
Another unilateral French mess ignored by the UN.
General Henri Poncet
Cowards always overeact when backed into a corner.
French colonial attempts were pretty much all failures that resulted in bloody civil wars, genocide, and unreported massacres. Their most successful colony was probably French Polynesia, and that only because the population is so small, the resources so limited, and their history of rather brutal treatment of protesters.
Aucun sang pour le chocolat!
(No blood for chocolate!)
US has already been through this. It's France at center stage now.
They used TORTURE on him!~}
PS! Call John McCampaign!
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