Former teacher of Kouachi brothers says they were 'not intelligent enough to resist extremism'

The brothers went to a boarding school for children with social needs

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The former teacher of the brothers who shot 12 people dead with Kalashnikov rifles in the Charlie Hebdo magazine attacks said their “low intellect” made them susceptible to being recruited by groups intent on inflicting terror.

Françoise Ronfet was a teacher at a rural boarding school that Chérif and Saïd Kouachi, two of five siblings, were sent to aged 12 and 14 from their family home in Paris in 1994 after their father had died and their mother struggled to bring them up.

The brothers stayed at the school after she had also passed away, The Times reports. Their sister was also at the school that catered for children with social difficulties and special needs.


Ms Ronfet, their now-retired biology teacher at the Centre des Monédières in Treignac more than 340 miles (550km) south of Paris, had told The Times: “They didn’t have the intellect to resist”.

After they finished their schooling, they returned to Paris as young adults and with having no family structure or stability, they got involved with friends who introduced them to hard line interpretations of Islam.

Ms Ronfet remembers the youngest Chérif fondly, who was 32 at the time of his death, and she told the newspaper: “He was very nice and he really tried in my subject. He didn’t have a very high standard of intellect. But he tried and we got along well.”

She added that the boys were well-behaved and did not show any visible signs of interest in religion while at school and said that Saïd, who was 34, also had “low intellect.”

The brothers were gunned down at a printing plant in Dammartin-en-Goele on Friday, in which they took employees hostage, after police surrounded them two days after their brutal murder of cartoonists, journalists, staff and police officers at the magazine offices in the 11th arrondissement of Paris.

They had allegedly shouted “we have avenged Prophet Mohamed!” after murdering their last victim, who was a Muslim police officer, before running into a get-away car. The magazine had printed cartoons satirising Prophet Mohamed and a front page depiction sparked a firebomb attack in 2011.

Five other people, four hostages in a kosher supermarket and a police officer, were killed by Amedy Coulibaly in the three-day siege in events that had initially appeared to be not connected. His partner Hayat Boumeddiene is believed to have flown to Syria via Turkey before the attacks were carried out.