The French government has launched an investigation into how live
rounds that injured 17 people were used during a military display in
southern France. From Paris, Lisa Bryant reports the incident may have
been an accident.
The shooting took place during a mock
hostage-rescue operation in southern France. Visitors were watching
the exercise. Fifteen civilians, including five children, were wounded
after live rounds - rather than blank cartridges - were fired. Two
soldiers were also injured. Those wounded were described as being in
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who visited
some of the wounded, vowed swift and tough punishment against those
responsible for the incident, which he described as unacceptable
Investigators are now looking into the cause of the
incident. A senior military official told the Agence France-Presse
news agency it was probably due to an accident. But in an interview on
France-Info radio, Defense Minister Herve Morin ruled nothing out.
said it was too early to say whether the shooting was due to an
accident or a willful act. But it was certain that mistakes were made.
Ordinarily, he said, an experienced soldier would be able to
distinguish blank cartridges from real bullets. Normal safety
procedures should also have prevented such an incident.
sergeant who apparently fired the rounds was considered to have an
excellent military record, and had not had any history of psychological
or other problems. He fired the real bullets after a previous exercise
in which he had fired fake ones. He was detained, along with three