What do we know about the beheading of Professor Conflans-Sainte-Honorine?

What do we know about the beheading of Professor Conflans-Sainte-Honorine?
What do we know about the beheading of Professor Conflans-Sainte-Honorine?

The murderer is said to be an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin. He would have beheaded a history and geography professor following a course on freedom of expression during which the latter had presented caricatures of Muhammad.

While Emmanuel Macron, traveling to the scene of the crime, described the beheading of a college professor on October 16, 2020, as a “characterized Islamist terrorist attack”, details on the author and the circumstances of the tragedy continue to trickle down.

What happened ?

According to a police source, the facts took place around 5 p.m. Staff from the Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines) anti-crime brigade (BAC) were called in for a suspicious individual prowling near the Bois d’Aulne college, located in a residential area and described as calm and without history by residents .

On the spot, the BAC agents discovered the victim and, 200 meters further on in Eragny-sur-Oise (Val-d’Oise), tried to arrest a man armed with a knife which threatened them and that they shot. A rifle was also reportedly found next to him, but the demining team could not find any explosives on his body.

Who is the attacker?

According to The Parisian and BFM TV, the suspect would be called Aboulakh A., is said to be 18 years old and of Chechen origin. Born in Moscow, he would live in Yvelines. The Russian embassy in Paris asked the French authorities on October 16 for information on the alleged assailant. “For the moment, we have no information on the citizenship of the suspect”, declared, according to the agency TASS, Sergei Parinov, a spokesman for the Russian embassy. Investigators are awaiting formal identification.

They also seek to know if the attacker is the author of a message posted on Twitter by an account now closed and which shows a photo of the victim’s head. Under this photo, a message threatens Emmanuel Macron, “the leader of the infidels”, and its author claims to want to avenge the one “who dared to belittle Muhammad”.

Nine people were taken into custody, AFP learned from a judicial source. These people come from the family circle of the assailant, who allegedly shouted “Allah akbar” before being shot, according to a source close to the investigation. There are also two parents of a student from the college where the victim worked, according to the same source.

Who is the victim ?

He is a professor of history and geography from the college in Bois d’Aulne, a quiet residential area of ​​Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. This teacher had recently shown caricatures of Muhammad to his students as part of a course on freedom of expression. Some parents were upset, especially on social networks.

Rodrigo Arenas, co-president of the FCPE, the first association of parents of pupils, explained that he had received a report which mentioned “an extremely angry father” after the presentation in class of a caricature of Muhammad.

According to Rodrigo Arenas, the victim allegedly “invited Muslim students out of the classroom” before showing a caricature of the prophet – crouching with a star drawn on his buttocks and the inscription “a star is born” – as part of a course aimed at explaining freedom of expression.

A benevolence from the history and geography teacher confirmed on RT France by the father of a student who attended the course. According to him, the professor did not seek to discriminate and suggested to the young Muslims to leave the classroom “out of sheer kindness”, wishing “to preserve the pupils”.

The national anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office (Pnat) immediately seized the investigation, opened for “assassination in connection with a terrorist enterprise” and “criminal terrorist association”. The investigation was entrusted to the Antiterrorist Sub-Directorate (Sdat) of the judicial police and to the General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI). The national anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-François Ricard is due to hold a press conference on October 17 in the afternoon.

This drama is part of an unprecedented wave of jihadist attacks, which began in 2015 in France and which left 259 dead, including this professor. Several attacks were perpetrated with knives, in particular at the Paris police headquarters in October 2019, in Romans-sur-Isère in April 2020, or near the former premises of Charlie Hebdo, last September 25.

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