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Manhunt underway after 'deranged' French legionnaire kills four

Latest update : 2009-04-07

A French legionnaire killed four people in eastern Chad on Tuesday. Described as "deranged", he shot two other French soldiers, a Togolese UN peacekeeper and a civilian. Authorities have launched a manhunt.

AFP - European peacekeepers on Tuesday launched a manhunt for a "deranged" French Foreign Legion officer who killed two comrades, a Togolese UN peacekeeper, and a civilian in Chad.

"Gunshots were heard in the (military) camp and then the two legionnaires were found and then a little further away the body of the Togolese soldier was discovered," said Captain Christophe Prazuck.

It appeared that the soldier, an officer he described as "deranged," opened fire with his service weapon and then escaped from the scene, Prazuck said.

A local official told AFP on condition of anonymity that the legionnaire had later shot and killed a Chadian civilian after he resisted the fugitive's attempt to steal his horse.

Chadian authorities were helping in the hunt for the soldier after the incident in the eastern town of Abeche, Prazuck said.

The three legionnaires were part of a European peacekeeping force in the central African desert state, while the Togolese soldier was part of a UN force that is taking over operations from the Europeans.

Some 5,200 peacekeepers from the UN's MINURCAT mission are now charged with protecting refugees from Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region, as well as others fleeing a rebel insurgency in Chad and the northern Central African Republic.

But roughly 2,000 members of the European force will remain for a few more months under the UN beret until African and Nepalese units arrive.

Date created : 2009-04-07