New turn of Corsican violence alarms Paris

In words that have a familiar and awful resonance in Britain and Northern Ireland, the mayor of Bastia in northern Corsica called on the French authorities yesterday to stop "getting lost in negotiations with this or that armed band. Respect the rule of law and disarm the armed groups - all armed groups."

The mayor, Emile Zuccarelli, was speaking the day after a powerful car bomb exploded in the picturesque old port area of his city, killing one person and injuring 15, two seriously.

Three of the victims, including the man killed, Pierre Louis Lorenzi, 34, were known members of Cuncolta, the legal political front for one of Corsica's most hardline nationalist movements, the FLNC.

Charles Pieri, 46, who was very seriously injured, is a co-founder of the FLNC. He is regarded as the main target of the attack.

The bomb was planted in a Citroen parked in front of the offices of the security firm they ran. In a pattern repeated time and again, the car had been stolen the previous day and parked close to its target. The bomb is believed to have been activated by a remote control.

Although Corsica has been wracked by violence in recent years, this attack - which took place on Monday afternoon, at the start of the tourist season - was immediately condemned on the island and in Paris as a new and dangerous departure.

Until now, attacks have been "targeted" at people or buildings deemed to be directly involved in the conflict.

Monday's bomb is regarded as the first intended to injure indiscriminately. Among those hurt were people who had been sitting in seafront bars and passers-by, including a 14-year-old boy and two retired people.

Yesterday, the scenes of blood and destruction in Bastia were being compared with the aftermath of car bombs in Lebanon and Algeria, places that have historical and current significance in France.

In Paris, the Interior Minister, Jean-Louis Debre, called such violence "intolerable".

He promised to send in a unit of special paramilitary police. In another sign of firmness, the head of the anti-terrorist section of the French police, Irene Stoller, was immediately dispatched to Bastia to head the investigation in person.

The atmosphere in Bastia was one of shock and dismay as the implications of the attack sank in. The killing brought the number of people killed directly in terrorist attacks in Corsica to 20 in less than two years.

As worrying for many Corsicans is the extent to which the island now seems governed by the gun rather than by law. Many Corsicans blame inaction and wheeler-dealing by French authorities for this situation.

A visit to the island last January from the interior minister, Jean- Louis Debre was thoroughly eclipsed by the FLNC, which staged a night- time encounter with 600 armed guerrillas in a mountain hide-out for the benefit of the French press.

The Prime Minister, Alain Juppe, denied that Paris was involved in deals with the terrorists. But this was the only way many people could explain the fact that the FLNC's show of strength had gone unpunished.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project and Resource Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing experience-led technology co...

Recruitment Genius: Production Scientist

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises in the...

Recruitment Genius: Factory Manager - Food

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Environmental Account Manager - Remote Working

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunit...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable