French anti-terror police investigate explosions at second-homes

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French anti-terror police investigate explosions at second-homes

French anti-terror police are investigating after a series of explosions overnight on Sunday, many of which targeted second homes.


Around a dozen residences - the majority of which were second-homes - were targeted by explosions on Sunday night in the area around Ajaccio - the capital of the island of Corsica. A building that formerly housed a tax office was also targeted.

Anti-terror investigators are liaising with local police and are expected to formalise their involvement on Monday, after the attacks were claimed by the separatist group Front de libération nationale de la Corse (FLNC).

No-one was seriously injured in the explosions, according to local authorities. 


The FLNC on Monday claimed responsibility for the attacks in a message sent to local paper Corse-Matin, and added: "Our destiny is not with France".


The Mediterranean island of Corsica - a popular holiday destination for French tourists - has been the subject of a long struggle for more independence from France which saw previous bombing campaigns as well as the assassination of local officials in the 1990s.

French president Emmanuel Macron visited the island in September and promised talks on "autonomy" - a status that would give the island more local decision-making powers while stopping short of full independence from France. 

EXPLAINED: Why Macron is promising autonomy for Corsica

Ajaccio prosecutor Nicolas Septe told reporters that the blasts and a subsequent fire had been caused by explosives, gas cylinders and nitrate, and in some cases a mix of these.

Macron visited Corsica on September 28th and told the regional parliament: "We should have the courage to establish a form of autonomy for Corsica within France."

But he warned the nationalist-controlled local legislature that this step would not happen "without" or "against" France.

Corsica shot to the top of the French political agenda last year when widespread violence broke out over the killing in a French mainland prison of key Corsican separatist figure Yvan Colonna.

Colonna - jailed for life over the 1998 murder of the region's prefect Claude Erignac - was stabbed to death by another inmate in what prosecutors termed an act of terror.


The FLNC first emerged in May 1976 but has since been plagued by internal struggles and split several times into different factions.

It announced in 2014 that it would lay down its weapons.

But this has not prevented sporadic violence on the island, which is a hugely popular tourist destination for the French. Many mainlanders own rarely-used second homes, to the ire of Corsican nationalists.

The last sequence of explosions of this kind - known as a nuit bleue (blue night) night - dates back to March 2019, when seven homes were damaged.


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