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Looking for Merah: the word from the Toulouse suburbs

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-03-29

In a bid to get some background on Toulouse gunman Mohamed Merah, our reporters went to the suburb where the "killer of Toulouse and Montauban" grew up.

In the Toulouse suburb of Les Izards where gunman Mohamed Merah grew up, shock at recent events has turned into annoyance. Journalists are no longer welcome, and our reporters, looking for residents who knew Merah, came up against a brick wall of “no comment” and “the story is over”.

But some enterprising souls in this neighbourhood of poor repute are happy to speak, if the price is right. FRANCE 24’s reporters were asked for up to 7,000 euros for a brief interview of people who had known Merah.

So they resorted to using hidden cameras, speaking to two childhood friends of the gunman, who described him as a happy young man “who needed a bit of affection”.

“There were several sides to him,” said one. “On Monday you might see him wearing a football strip, Tuesday a jellabah [Islamic robe] and by Wednesday he could have his hair dyed blond. And he was the kind of character you could love one moment and hate the next, quite a unique kind of person.”

Watch the video to see a profile of the troubled young man.
 

Date created : 2012-03-28

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