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'French state are assassins': Massive demonstration in support of Yvan Colonna, Bastia on Sunday. Twitter

Corsica explodes after assassination attempt against jailed separatist

After the attempted assassination of Yvan Colonna by a jihadist in prison, the island has erupted. Corsicans believe President Macron ordered the attack.

Published: March 14, 2022, 9:05 am

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    Regional daily La Provence last week reported that a 35-year-old Franco-Cameroonian, a former jihadist who had been convicted of terrorism, and captured by the Americans in 2012 had been held in the same prison as Colonna. He was responsible for the attack on Colonna.

    The jihadist had been transferred to the same institution a year earlier because he had become radicalized in prison in Bordeaux. After two years of detention in a Kabul prison for having fought with the Taliban, he was handed over to France in 2014 and tried in 2016. He was sentenced to 9 years in prison in view of his association with criminals preparing a terrorist act.

    Gratuitous crime or special operation?

    The Corsican nationalist Gilles Simeoni, the lawyer for Yvan Colonna, does not believe the attempted murder was a coincidence.

    “Obviously, this gentleman was armed, he was wound up like a cuckoo clock. Who armed him, who had wound him up, who allowed him to move freely in prison, who allowed him to enter the room freely, who allowed him to strike for several long minutes to almost kill Yvan Colonna without anyone intervening, neither the supervisors who were present a few meters away nor those who were supposed to be behind the CCTV cameras? How did all this happen? I do not have much confidence in the judicial investigation or in the administrative investigation that will be carried out…”

    Fires, demonstrations, blockades, Corsica has been in turmoil since the assassination attempt. Corsican solidarity is not an empty word. The island is waking up, and President Macron had not expected that. As in Guadeloupe, the government has dispatched gendarmes and repressive equipment instead of negotiating. But the ferry which had docked in the port of Ajaccio to unload the gendermes and equipment was blocked and could not release its cargo.

    In Corte, Calvi and especially last night in Bastia, the forces of metropolitan order had no ammunition and had to retreat. Earlier, a Crédit Agricole bank was set ablaze.

    France 3 reported that Yvan’s wife Christine Colonna wrote a letter which was distributed at a meeting of all the nationalist organizations being held in Corte on Wednesday, at the call of the student unions.

    According to Le Figaro “the State is reluctant to allow the return of members of the Érignac commando to their island”. Colonna is regarded as a member of the Érignac commando which had allegedly been involved in the murder of Prefect Érignac.

    Macron’s terrible timing

    The timing could not be worse for public authorities which, since 2018, have refused to grant members of the Érignac commando, Alain Ferrandi, Pierre Alessandri and Yvan Colonna, the lifting of their status of particularly guarded detainees (DPS) even though their security period had lapsed.

    “Twice, in January 2020 and in October 2021, the Paris Court of Appeal opposed the adjustment of the sentence of my client Pierre Alessandri. And three times, in 2018, 2019 and 2020, the Ministry of Justice and then the Prime Minister refused him the lifting of the DPS status which would have allowed him to be transferred to the Borgo prison in Corsica”, explained lawyer Éric Barbolosi.

    It is all the more surprising since the prison commission has always been in favor of it. As for Yvan Colonna, his security period ended in July 2021.

    According to the daily, Emmanuel Macron had promised the widow of the prefect that there would never be leniency for the Érignac commando, that is to say the transfer of these men to the prison of Borgo, Corsica. The symbolic value of the prefect, an envoy of the the powers in Paris to Corsica, explains the intransigence of the State.

    Last night, at least 67 were injured including 44 CRS and gendarmes during riots in Bastia. The police unions are in unison in denouncing the violence during the evening and called for reinforcements to be sent to Corsica. On March 4, protesters blocked a ferry and prevented reinforcements from landing on the island.

    According to Parisian daily Le Canard enchainé, Emmanuel Macron had negotiated with the Corsican executive for support in the presidential election, “at least in the second round”, in exchange for the “full autonomy” of the island. But the assassination attempt of Yvan Colonna has buried the agreement and since then Corsica has exploded.

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