SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

Holiday camp staff fired for mock jihadist killing

Four entertainers working at a holiday camp for children in north-western France, have been suspended from their posts and reported to police after they photographed themselves re-enacting a jihadist execution.

Holiday camp staff fired for mock jihadist killing
The photos were allegedly taken at a holiday camp on the island of Groix. Photo: Jeanne Menj

The four men, who include the holiday camp director as well as two temporary employees who work at a leisure centre, reportedly photographed themselves in a series of poses mimicking the shocking jihadist executions that have been posted online. 

In one of around 20 photographs, one of the activity leaders pretends to be a hostage kneeling on the ground with a newspaper in his hands, flanked by masked executioners holding a knife to his throat.

The photos were allegedly taken between August 4th and 21st at the holiday camp for children aged eight to 12 in a resort on the island of Groix, which is owned by the town of Colombes in southern Brittany.

Around 45 children attended the camp, supervised by around ten entertainers.

It is not clear whether any children were present when the mock beheading took place.

On Thursday Mayor of Colombes Nicole Goueta filed an official legal complaint with a Nanterre prosecutor for glorifying terrorism.

The four were also suspended from their posts and they will also be subject to disciplinary proceedings.

“I hope that the children were absent at the time of the photos,” Goueta was quoted as saying by Le Parisien. “But these are entertainers, educators. People from Colombes entrust their children to their care. It’s unacceptable behaviour.”

The mayor said she first became aware of the photos while preparing an exhibition with photos from summer camp vacations in August at a resort owned by the town on the island of Groix.

“They gave us a USB key with these pictures in which they simulate acts of torture and barbarism. There are 18. On one of them we see a child in the corner, sitting on the ground with a terrified look. But we only see the entertainer’s foot.”

She added that it was up to police to establish the intentions of the four men.

“As for the rest, it’s up to the police and justice to decide whether these managers are open to the theories of radical Islam.” 

The revelation of the photos comes as France grapples with homegrown jihadism, with several nationals seen in videos released by the Islamic State insurgent group in Iraq and Syria.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

WILDFIRES

French police track forest fire-starters by air and land

On the ground, two officers from a special mobile brigade of France's paramilitary gendarmerie speed along a forest track.

French police track forest fire-starters by air and land

Above them, a helicopter scans the landscape to warn them of any fires or anyone who might be looking to start one.

These are the members of a newly created police team who have just started patrolling in southwest France to seek out and arrest the fire-starters devastating the region’s forests.

In the last week, no less than 20 fires have broken out in the forest bordering the seaside resort of Soulac-sur-Mer in the La Gironde department of southwest France, says the local gendarmerie.

While some have burned for just a 100 square metres (322 square feet), the largest devoured 30 hectares (74 acres) of forest.

Scorched trees and charred trunks line the paths and cycle paths that criss-cross the woods.

To stop the devastation, local officials have sent in the new unit, the Forest Vigilance Platoon (PVF) made up of 15 reservist gendarmes, a senior police officer and two motorcyclists from the mobile brigade, backed up by the
helicopter.

Spread across three zones, the PVF patrol the forest on motorbikes, all-terrain bicycles or in cars, where possible, on the hunt for fire-starters.

Set up just last week they started patrolling on Thursday.

The idea is that the PVF will free up firefighters who have been stretched thin battling blazes that since Tuesday have burned up 7,400 hectares of pine forests at the southern end of Gironde.

“After the major fires in July, we observed a rise in the number of arson cases,” said Martin Guespereau, deputy prefect for defence and security in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, which covers the Gironde.

“There are around twenty fires of unknown origin a day in Gironde.”

¬†According to France’s National Forests Office (ONF) nine out of 10 fires were started by people — and three out of 10 were started deliberately.

Forest off-limits

“The Forest Vigilance Platoon is a support division, whose aim is to prevent, detect and possible to arrest,” said Captain Christophe Roque, who was given the job of putting the team together.

Red-and-white signs at the edge of the Soulac-sur-Mer forest inform walkers that due to the “very severe” risk of fire, the forest is off-limits to the public until further notice — and has been since August 11.

A few cyclists were nevertheless out on the trails on Saturday, and were quickly intercepted by the gendarmes of the PVF.

“As soon as we come across someone, we get their identity,” said one member of the team, Bruno Kechtoff. “Because if we come across the same person several times, then that becomes suspicious.”

A message comes over the radio: two outbreaks of fire barely 500 metres (yards) apart, near Bazas, south of Bordeaux, the regional capital. A local has reported seeing someone on a moped wearing “yellow-trimmed” trousers”.

The LVF’s helicopter veers off towards Bazas, 130 kilometres away (80 miles) away.

Where they are sent next depends on where the next fires break out, says Constable Jeremy Hernandez. “We have been called here urgently but we can move if other areas are concerned.”

Then they are in their car and driving off, siren wailing, on the look-out for a quad reported in the woods.

READ MORE:

SHOW COMMENTS