Europe

France vows to restore order in Corsica after shootings

  • 16 November 2012
  • From the section Europe
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls listens to South Corsica's Prefect, Patrick Strzoda , at the scene of Jacques Nacer's murder in Ajaccio, 15 November
Image caption Interior Minister Manuel Valls (2nd from left) visited the scene of Jacques Nacer's murder

The French government has vowed to restore order on the island of Corsica, which accounts for one in five of the country's gangland murders.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls and Justice Minister Christiane Taubira jointly visited the island a day after a prominent businessman was killed.

Jacques Nacer, who owned a clothing store and headed Corsica's chamber of commerce, was shot dead on Wednesday.

The island has long been troubled by organised crime and separatist unrest.

Last month, Antoine Sollacaro, president of Corsica's bar association and a leading figure in the nationalist movement, was shot dead in his car on his way to work.

Correspondents say the two murders shocked the island, particularly as the men were regarded as pillars of the community.

Unsolved murders

Since the start of 2011, there have been 39 murders on Corsica, which has a population of some 300,000, out of France's total population of 62.6 million.

Corsica records around 20% of all gangland murders in France, Mr Valls told reporters in Ajaccio, the island's capital.

It sees, on average, 33 actual or attempted gangland murders a year, he said.

"Corsica is France..." the interior minister said. "It is not a territory apart where we would accept murders and violence."

Ms Taubira acknowledged that only four of the 60 most recent killings on the island had ended in convictions and promised the government would do better.

"A minority of murderers, assassins, crooks and mafiosi do not control the territory," she insisted.

"It's the large majority of Corsicans who control the territory, and they will have the last word."

Famed for its beauty and connections to Napoleon Bonaparte, the island 170km (110 miles) off France's Mediterranean coast, which has its own Romance language and distinctive culture, is a popular holiday destination.

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