Corsican nationalists warn jihadists of tough response

FLNC press conference, 14 Nov 03 Image copyright AFP
Image caption The FLNC remains a clandestine armed group (image from 2003)

A Corsican nationalist group has said it will retaliate for any attack by Islamists on the French island.

For decades the armed Corsican National Liberation Front (FLNC) carried out bombings and robberies targeting the French state. In 2014 the FLNC declared a ceasefire, but did not disarm.

The FLNC warned of a "determined response, without any qualms" for any jihadist attack in Corsica, in a message to the Corse Matin newspaper.

Jihadists stormed a church on Tuesday.

The two attackers killed an elderly priest, Father Jacques Hamel, and took hostages in the Normandy church, before police shot the pair dead outside.

So-called Islamic State (IS) released a video of what it said were the two men pledging allegiance to the group.

It is the latest jihadist atrocity to hit France, still traumatised by the Paris attacks last year in which 147 people died.

In December protesters in Ajaccio, Corsica, vandalised a Muslim prayer hall and trashed copies of the Koran.

The FLNC message - issued by a faction called 22 October - called on Muslim leaders in Corsica to "take a stand against radical Islam" and "alert us to any excesses you notice among disillusioned youths inclined towards extremism".

Addressing jihadists, the FLNC said "your medieval philosophy doesn't scare us". It added: "You should know that any attack against our people would trigger a determined response, without any qualms... The Salafists clearly want to establish the Daesh (IS) policy among us, and we're prepared for that."

Nine French policemen were killed in 34 years of pro-independence violence led by the FLNC.

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