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Corsican nightclub boss killed, 24 houses bombed
A nightclub boss was shot and at least 24 holiday homes were bombed on Friday in the latest wave of violence to hit Corsica. Corsica has long been dogged by bloodshed linked to demands for independence from France as well as feuding criminal gangs.
A Corsican nightclub owner was gunned down and at least 24 holiday homes were bombed on Friday night, the eve of the French island’s “national day”. No one was injured in the firebomb attacks.
Jérémy Mattioni is the 20th victim of Corsica's gangland murders this year. His 11-year-old stepson was also injured in the shooting near their home in the coastal resort of Calvi.
Police said Mattioni had recently been released from prison and had a history of aggravated robberies, criminal damage and fraud.
“It was an execution of extraordinary violence, in the presence of a child, in which a number of weapons were used,” said Calvi prosecutor Dominique Alzeari. “From the spent bullets and cartridges we found, we know that he was certainly killed with automatic weapons.”
He added that it was ”too early” to tell if his killing was linked to the 19 violent murders on the island this year, or if there was any connection to the bomb attacks on holiday homes that took place on the same night.
Police said at least one of the properties, which are often the target of nationalists, was daubed with nationalist graffiti.
Saturday, December 8th is the Catholic feast of the Immaculate Conception, a date celebrated by many Corsicans as the island’s “national day”, marking the 18th-century adoption of a constitution that was briefly in force before the island became a part of France.
Holiday homes bombed
The Corsican National Liberation Front (FLNC) on Saturday claimed responsibility for the holiday home attacks, stating that it was impossible for locals to get on the property adder with second homes driving up house prices.
The FNLC also said it was behind the bomb attacks on supermarkets in Ajaccio in September, which they say are suffocating local small businesses.
Police say that much of the violence in Corsica, known to the French as the “Isle of Beauty” due to its rugged landscapes and relatively untouched coastline, is linked to criminal gangs who are more concerned with accumulating wealth than nationalist politics.
It has been a particularly bloody year for the Mediterranean island, and police have failed to charge anyone for the 19 killings. And of the 22 murders in 2011 and 17 in 2010, not one has been solved.
Although Corsica has relatively low levels of petty crime, it has the dubious honour of being the number one region for murders per capita in Europe.
The highest profile killing this year was of lawyer Antoine Sollacaro, head of the Ajaccio bar, who had a long record of defending nationalist client including Yvan Colonna, who killed Corsica’s prefect in 1998 and is currently serving a life sentence.
(FRANCE24 with wires)