France: First Heroism, Now Homicide?

First Heroism, Now Homicide?

The daring May 5 rescue of 22 gendarmes and a magistrate held hostage in a jungle cave by New Caledonia separatists was at first hailed as a brilliant coup for French security forces. Then came a dramatic reversal. Last week Defense Minister Jean-Pierre Chevenement, a Socialist, announced he had launched an investigation of charges that soldiers involved in the rescue operation had murdered two hostage takers and failed to provide medical care to a third, who later died of his wounds. All 23 hostages came through the ordeal unscathed.

The minister's announcement came in the midst of campaigning for the first...

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