French army chief resigns after shooting incident

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The Independent Online

French army chief of staff General Bruno Cuche resigned today after a soldier fired live ammunition instead of blanks at a weekend military show and injured 17 people, the presidential office said.

President Nicolas Sarkozy had pledged to react rapidly and severely and to seek explanations from the army.

"The President, the head of the armies, has accepted the resignation presented by army General Bruno Cuche, head of the land army," said a statement from Sarkozy's office.

Cuche answers to a higher-ranking officer in charge of the overall armed forces. Sarkozy is the ultimate head of the armed forces in France.

The incident occurred during a military show by the Third Marine Parachute regiment, open to the public in the southern French town of Carcassonne. The soldier has been questioned by police.

The wounded were mostly members of the public who had been watching the soldiers simulate an attack and included a 3-year-old boy who was hit in the heart and in the arm.

The condition of the boy had stabilised after doctors performed an operation.