Home > World > Former premier says French government is sowing panic on terrorism

Former premier says French government is sowing panic on terrorism

Dominique de Villepin on 18 november 2003.

Image via Wikipedia

Sep 21, 2010, 9:20 GMT

Paris – Former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin slammed Tuesday the government’s policy of alerting the public to terrorism threats, claiming it was only sowing ‘panic.’

Following false bomb threats against the Eiffel Tower and a Paris suburban train station on September 14, Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux has repeatedly warned the French that they were under an increased terrorist threat.

At the weekend, after French media reported that Algerian intelligence had passed on a tip that a female suicide bomber could attack the Paris metro system, he said, ‘The threat is real, we have increased our vigilance.’

‘What’s important is to take measures, to act,’ Villepin told France Info radio. ‘There is no use in sowing panic throughout the country.’

Villepin, who is considering challenging President Nicolas Sarkozy for the 2012 presidential election, said the government was leading ‘a communication policy that was, at best, inept and sometimes even cynical.’

However, a retired magistrate who had specialized in terrorist crimes, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, told RTL radio Tuesday that it was ‘important to alert people. Terrorism is a reality. Vigilance must be raised.’

Bruguiere said that the terrorist threat against France was currently as high as it was in 1995, when several bombings were carried out in France, primarily in Paris, killing eight people and wounding more than 150.

It is widely believed that that terror group al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is behind the current threats. The group is also believed to have carried out last week’s abduction of five French nationals and two others in northern Niger.

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