First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We'd like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick

More specifically, we'd like those who can afford to pay to start paying. What it comes down to is whether or not you value Daily Maverick. Think of us in terms of your daily cappuccino from your favourite coffee shop. It costs around R35. That’s R1,050 per month on frothy milk. Don’t get us wrong, we’re almost exclusively fuelled by coffee. BUT maybe R200 of that R1,050 could go to the journalism that’s fighting for the country?

We don’t dictate how much we’d like our readers to contribute. After all, how much you value our work is subjective (and frankly, every amount helps). At R200, you get it back in Uber Eats and ride vouchers every month, but that’s just a suggestion. A little less than a week’s worth of cappuccinos.

We can't survive on hope and our own determination. Our country is going to be considerably worse off if we don’t have a strong, sustainable news media. If you’re rejigging your budgets, and it comes to choosing between frothy milk and Daily Maverick, we hope you might reconsider that cappuccino.

We need your help. And we’re not ashamed to ask for it.

Our mission is to Defend Truth. Join Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Hostage taker surrenders outside French bank, all six c...

Newsdeck

Newsdeck

Hostage taker surrenders outside French bank, all six captives unharmed

By Reuters
07 Aug 2020 0

LE HAVRE, France, Aug 6 (Reuters) - A gunman who took six people hostage in a bank in northern France on Thursday surrendered to elite police after a six-hour operation to free his captives.

* Police say all six hostages unharmed

* Gunman has mental health problems, authorities say

* Also believed to have Islamist sympathies, sources say

* France shaken by militant attacks in recent years (Adds colour from arrest, Le Havre’s mayor)

By Antony Paone

The hostage-taker, a 34-year-old with a history of mental illness, emerged slowly from the building wearing a balaclava and with his hands turned palms-up, before officers with their weapons raised moved in and handcuffed him.

All the hostages were unharmed, though in shock, said Denis Jacob of the Alternative police trade union.

Bomb squad officers acted after the man told officers there were explosives in a bag. He had been armed with a handgun, a national police representative told Reuters.

The man initially took six people hostage. Five were subsequently released and the sixth taken to safety after the man was arrested, according to Jacob.

The hostage-taker was believed to have Islamist sympathies, two police union officials said, but there was no official confirmation of this.

Militant attacks have shaken France in recent years, with four police officers killed in an October 2019 knife rampage in Paris and 130 people killed by coordinated bombings and shootings in the capital in November 2015.

Yves Lefebvre, head of another police union, SGP Unite, said the hostage-taker in Le Havre, a town of around 170,000 people on the English Channel, was known to law enforcement authorities and on a security service watch list.

“We know that he has been radicalised and suffers a serious psychiatric illness,” he said.

Another source, a senior police official, said that during the incident the man spoke in support of the Palestinian cause. He walked out of the bank with what appeared to be a green-coloured flag draped around his shoulders.

Police had cordoned off the area around the bank on Boulevard de Strasbourg, a wide thoroughfare in the centre of Le Havre.

An employee at a Burger King outlet about 100 metres from the bank said police had told them to lock an entrance on the same street as the hostage-taking but not ordered them to shut.

When the fifth hostage was freed, a man in a pink shirt could be seen in Reuters television footage being led away from the bank by a police officer in full protective gear.

“Very proud and grateful,” former prime minister Edouard Philippe, now Le Havre’s mayor, wrote on Twitter in praise of the police.

The hostages were seized in a branch of Bred bank, a mid-sized lender, on the ground floor of a six-storey residential building. (Additional reporting by Benoit Van Overstraten, Richard Lough, Caroline Pailliez and Tangi Salaun in Paris; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Tom Brown and Daniel Wallis)

Gallery

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted