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Second Charlie Hebdo gunman given anonymous burial

AFP/ FRENCH POLICE | This handout photo released by French Police in Paris on January 8, 2015 shows Chérif Kouachi, aged 32

Chérif Kouachi, one of the two gunmen who killed 12 people in an attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, was laid to rest amid tight security in an anonymous grave near Paris late Saturday, the local mayor’s office said.

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Kouachi was buried just before midnight Saturday at a cemetery in the northern Parisian suburb of Gennevilliers, where he used to live. No relatives attended the funeral and the grave is unmarked to avoid it becoming "a pilgrimage site" for Islamists, an official at the mayor’s office said.

"His wife did not wish to take part in the funeral. He did not have anyone. It was extremely calm," the official added.

On Friday, his older brother and accomplice, Said Kouachi, was given an anonymous burial in the northeastern French city of Reims.

The Kouachi brothers stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris on January 7, killing 10 staff and two police officers in an attack that shocked the country.

Earlier in the week, Reims’s mayor, Arnaud Robinet, told France Info radio that he had tried to “categorically refuse” a request by Kouachi’s family to bury Said in the city, because he didn’t “want a place that promotes hate”. Robinet said he was eventually forced to allow his burial because of a French law that grants a right to be buried in the town of last residence.

Meanwhile, there has been no word of plans for burying Amédy Coulibaly who killed five people, including four hostages, at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris before he was killed by police January 9.

The debate over the burials echoed the one nearly three years ago over Mohamed Merah, who killed three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three paratroopers in Toulouse in 2012. The then president Nicolas Sarkozy intervened to allow the burial over the objections of Toulouse’s mayor.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)

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