France vows to shed light on military killing

27th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 27 (AFP) - French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin vowed on Thursday to fully investigate the killing of a local man by French troops in Ivory Coast, which led to the suspension of a top French general.

PARIS, Oct 27 (AFP) - French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin vowed on Thursday to fully investigate the killing of a local man by French troops in Ivory Coast, which led to the suspension of a top French general.

"We have nothing to hide," Villepin told a monthly press conference, promising to "shed full light" on the affair.

General Henri Poncet, who was commander of the 4,000-strong French mission in Ivory Coast until June, was relieved of his duties due to a suspected cover-up of the incident in May, according to the French defence ministry.

"It is to the army's honour, and I salute the decision taken rapidly by (Defence Minister) Michele Alliot-Marie, to seek to shed light" on the case.

"France is committed to upholding, in all circumstances, the fundamental rules that apply to each French person, and naturally to each member of the military," Villepin said.

The prime minister said France would ensure there was a full, transparent inquiry, and that the "necessary measures" were taken.

A French military source in the west African country said on Wednesday that a French soldier had captured and killed a local man named Fabien Mahe by smothering his head in a plastic bag.

The initial French military report into the incident had said Mahe -- described as a highway gang leader suspected of murder and rape -- was shot in self-defence after he opened fire on French troops.

A military prosecutor in the country has begun investigations against persons unknown for murder.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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