FRANCE

One dead in at­tack at home for re­tired mis­sion­ar­ies

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

A wo­man has been found dead af­ter an armed man en­tered a re­tire­ment home for for­mer mis­sion­ar­ies near Mont­pel­lier, ac­cord­ing to French me­dia re­ports. Po­lice re­sponded to the in­ci­dent late on Thurs­day evening in Mont­fer­rier-sur-Lez in the south of the coun­try. The home for for­mer mis­sion­ar­ies to Africa has been evac­u­ated, but the sus­pect re­mains at large. There is so far no in­di­ca­tion that this is a ter­ror­ist in­ci­dent, sources close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion said. A care­taker con­tacted po­lice af­ter es­cap­ing from the home, Reuters news agency re­ported. The body of the dead wo­man was found gagged and tied up out­side the build­ing, an of­fi­cial said. Po­lice searched the build­ing ex­ten­sively, but the sus­pect had fled the scene. “For the time be­ing, there is only one vic­tim,” Mont­pel­lier pros­e­cu­tor Christophe Bar­ret told the AFP news agency. “For the mo­ment there is no par­tic­u­lar ev­i­dence about the mo­tive for this crime.” The man was not known to au­thor­i­ties. Res­i­dents of the home “are very el­derly with an av­er­age age of 75 al­though some are more than 90,” a lo­cal coun­cil­lor said, and many need as­sis­tance to walk, he said. French newspaper Le Fi­garo said that the at­tacker was “hooded and armed with a knife and sawed-off shot­gun” when he broke into the home, cit­ing sources close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The mayor of the town, Michel Fraysse, told the AFP news agency the build­ing housed around 60 for­mer mis­sion­ar­ies, six or seven lay peo­ple, and an­other six or seven nuns. A correspondent for AFP said 15 po­lice ve­hi­cles and a dozen be­long­ing to the fire ser­vice were sta­tioned a few hun­dred me­tres from the build­ing. Olivier Ribadeau Du­mas, a spokesman for the Con­fer­ence of Bish­ops of France, tweeted: “our prayers tonight go to the wo­man who lost her life in this at­tack on a re­tire­ment home.” France re­mains in a for­mal state of emer­gency since a wave of ter­ror­ist at­tacks last year.

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