French chief quits over show shooting

The head of the French army resigned today over the military show accident where a soldier shot 17 people.

The head of the French army resigned today over the military show accident where a soldier shot 17 people.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office said he had accepted the resignation of General Bruno Cuche.

Investigators have been looking into what went wrong during the display of hostage-freeing techniques at the Laperrine military barracks at the weekend when one soldier used live ammunition instead of blanks.

Mr Sarkozy had promised “consequences” after the crowd was blasted with automatic fire.

Most of those injured were civilians, and three were children. Hospital officials said that none of the injuries appeared life-threatening.

The soldier who fired the bullets was taken into custody. Montpellier Prosecutor Brice Robin said the shooting appeared to be unintentional.

“According to his early statements, it appears that he made a mistake while loading his gun,” Mr Robin said. “This act was absolutely not premeditated; I want to be clear about this point.”

Without waiting for the results of the judicial and military investigations, Defence Minister Herve Morin ordered the army chief of staff to prepare punishments for those responsible, the ministry said.

It blamed the shooting at a parachute regiment’s open day for the public on “serious failings.”

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