Foreign Legion defended after soldier kills three

The French defence minister defended the Foreign Legion after a soldier from the elite unit opened fire on his comrades in Chad and killed three people.

The French defence minister defended the Foreign Legion after a soldier from the elite unit opened fire on his comrades in Chad and killed three people.

The soldier killed two colleagues and a Togolese soldier at a military base near the eastern Chadian city of Abeche on Tuesday.

The gunman, whose identity has yet to be released, fled the scene and is still on the run.

Herve Morin told reporters in Paris that the French government has no new information about his current whereabouts.

He said the shootings should not sully the image of the Foreign Legion, a secretive and prestigious unit that has historically accepted recruits from around the world.

He added that, contrary to popular belief, those with criminal backgrounds are not admitted.

“The recruitment conditions in the Foreign Legion are not done any old way,” he said. “There is a real individual follow-up to check that what he tells us corresponds to the reality.”

Over a period of 15 days, applicants are vetted. A vigorous four-to-five-month training follows, allowing for a thorough psychological analysis.

Mr Morin declined to discuss what nationality the killer is, saying he was serving under the French flag.

“He is a soldier of the Foreign Legion. He’s a soldier of France,” he said.

More in this section

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox