Qatari women robbed of mil­lions in high­way heist

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

TWO Qatari women were held up on a Paris high­way and robbed of valu­ables worth more than five mil­lion euro ($5.3m) north of Paris, ac­cord­ing to French po­lice.

The women, in their 60s, had just left Le Bour­get air­port north­east of the cap­i­tal on Mon­day when their chauf­feur­driven Bent­ley was held up by masked men who sprayed them with tear gas, a po­lice source told AFP news agency on Tues­day. The rob­bers stole “ev­ery­thing in the ve­hi­cle: jew­els, clothes, lug­gage”, the source said.

The French driver, who works for the women on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, re­ported the in­ci­dent to po­lice.

A po­lice of­fi­cial told the As­so­ci­ated Press news agency the rob­bers were in a car which forced the Bent­ley off the high­way and then to stop in an emer­gency zone. The sis­ters’ names were not re­leased. Ear­lier this month, Bol­ly­wood ac­tress Mal­lika Sher­awat and part­ner Cyrille Aux­en­fans were the tar­gets of a rob­bery at­tempt, also in­volv­ing tear gas, in their home in a wealthy area of Paris. The rob­bers fled empty-handed.

In 2014, a Saudi prince’s diplo­matic con­voy was am­bushed in a heist sim­i­lar to Mon­day’s one, as it headed to Le Bour­get Air­port, com­monly used for pri­vate jets.

The at­tack on the Qatari women took place on a sec­tion of mo­tor­way lead­ing north from Paris to the Charles de Gaulle and Le Bour­get air­ports which is of­ten the scene of hold-ups tar­get­ing wealthy for­eign­ers in lux­ury cars, some of whom carry large amounts of cash.

The rob­bers of­ten take ad­van­tage of traf­fic jams near the Landy tun­nel, which is some 1.3km long, to pounce.

The in­ci­dents have done lit­tle to help ef­forts by the gov­ern­ment to coax tourists back to France in the wake of the Novem­ber 2015 at­tacks in which 130 peo­ple died, fol­lowed by the Bastille Day lorry mas­sacre in south­ern city Nice that killed 86.

In the Paris area alone, tourism rev­enue is ex­pected to plunge by $1.6bn this year. — AFP JOHANNESBURG — Stal­warts of the ANC are pre­par­ing for to­mor­row’s meet­ing with the party’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC) where they are ex­pected to con­tinue with calls for a re­newal of the po­lit­i­cal party.

They have been de­lib­er­at­ing over is­sues that need to be ad­dressed when they meet with the com­mit­tee.

“We un­der­stand this to be the be­gin­ning of a num­ber of en­gage­ments which will take place un­til all the is­sues have been dealt with,” the veter­ans’ me­dia co-or­di­na­tor Mpho Mosi­mane told News24 on Tues­day.

A small del­e­ga­tion is ex­pected to meet with the ANC’s NEC, fol­low­ing a meet­ing be­tween them­selves and the party’s na­tional work­ing com­mit­tee (NWC) on Mon­day. “Dif­fi­cult but ro­bust” is how some in the meet­ing de­scribed it. ANC sec­re­tary gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe told jour­nal­ists on the side­lines that the meet­ing was at times dif­fi­cult but quite im­por­tant for the health of the ANC mov­ing for­ward.

One el­der who did not want to be named told News24 that pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma lashed out at stal­warts for dis­cussing their con­cerns and ex­pe­ri­ences in at­tempt­ing to raise their wor­ries about the di­rec­tion the party was tak­ing in the me­dia.

“I think this thing is go­ing to be prob­lem­atic if you go to the me­dia” is what the pres­i­dent is said to have told more than 30 veter­ans who took part in the meet­ing.

He sounded like he was at­tempt­ing to threaten us, to stop us from go­ing pub­lic, said a stal­wart.

But be­fore that rep­re­sen­ta­tions were made to the NWC by au­thor Wally Serote and Rev­erend Frank Chikane who ex­plained why the stal­warts wanted to meet cur­rent lead­ers in the ANC and spoke to the “For the Sake of our Fu­ture” doc­u­ment, which was com­piled by the lead­ers, its ob­jec­tives and ways to­wards their achieve­ment.

Man­tashe and na­tional chair­per­son Baleka Mbete also ad­dressed those in the room be­fore in­di­vid­u­als were given a chance to share their thoughts with their fel­low com­rades.

Rivo­nia tri­al­ist De­nis Gold­berg was also in the room. He told News24 he was there to speak on be­half of his two other coun­ter­parts Ahmed Kathrada and An­drew Mlan­geni.

“There was some harsh talk­ing and some gen­tle talk­ing, harsh al­le­ga­tions and gen­tle pleas for re­newal,” said Gold­berg.

Although he re­fused to re­veal much about the meet­ing he said some rem­i­nisced about the old ANC while oth­ers shared their hopes for the party go­ing for­ward.

A stal­wart who re­fused to be named said Gold­berg had some harsh words for the lead­er­ship, claim­ing he said if they didn’t ac­knowl­edge that they had brought the or­gan­i­sa­tion into dis­re­pute then there would be no re­newal for the 104-year-old move­ment.

One vet­eran said he was not sur­prised by how events un­folded on Mon­day, ex­plain­ing that there could be no real out­come un­til fur­ther dis­cus­sion took place.

Mean­while, the EFF boy­cotted Zuma’s last ques­tion ses­sion for 2016 in the Na­tional Assem­bly yes­ter­day.

The EFF benches were no­tice­ably empty when the ques­tion ses­sion started at 15:00.

The party said ear­lier yes­ter­day they would not par­tic­i­pate as they did not re­gard Zuma as a pres­i­dent.

“Ja­cob Zuma was found by the Con­sti­tu­tional court to have vi­o­lated his oath of of­fice, and thereby un­der­min­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion in that he failed to uphold and pro­tect it,” spokesper­son Mbuyiseni Nd­lozi said in a state­ment.

“Zuma failed to do this in re­la­tion to the pro­cesses of the up­grade of his pri­vate home in Nkandla, where he un­duly ben­e­fited from the abuse and mis­use of state funds.”

The party made men­tion of the “State of Cap­ture” re­port and said Zuma was “in the mid­dle of ra­pa­cious and cal­lous loot­ing of state re­sources for his own ben­e­fits”.

“The EFF’s non-par­tic­i­pa­tion in the ques­tion ses­sion today must never be mis­taken for cow­ardice.” — AFP

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