Qatari women robbed of millions in highway heist
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