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Threat sent to French embassy in Djibouti

DJIBOUTI, March 24 (AFP) – The French embassy in Djibouti said Wednesday it had received a letter threatening French interests in the tiny east African country.

Several letters have been received in recent days by French embassies in “seven or eight predominantly Muslim countries,” a judicial source in Paris said Wednesday.

“The threats against French interests in Djibouti were contained in a letter” sent from France, a French diplomat in Djibouti said.

He said the letter had been signed by “Mosvar Barayev, commando.”

The almost identically named Movsar Barayev was the leader of the Chechen separatist group that took 1,000 people hostage in a Moscow theatre in October 2002 and was killed when Russian security forces raided the building.

“We have taken basic preventive steps,” added the diplomat, who asked not to be named.

Asked about any links between this threat and the cancellation by German President Johannes Rau of a planned visit to Djibouti on Wednesday, the diplomat said: “We know no more than you do.”

On Tuesday evening, Rau’s office in Berlin announced that the president had cancelled the trip because of an established threat of an attack.

Security around some French schools in Djibouti city had been stepped up Wednesday, an AFP journalist there noted.

Parents dropping off or collecting their children were asked to park well away from the school buildings.

French business bosses in Djibouti have been warned to take appropriate security precautions, according to a French banker who asked not be named.


                                                              Subject: France news