Marseille's lurid tit-for-tat killings – the real story

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The reprisal murders that take place in Marseille regularly make the headlines and have helped fuel the idea that crime in France's major Mediterranean port city is spiralling out of control. However, as Louise Fessard reports, the crime statistics and other research tell a different story.

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They were two murders committed on the same day. One was that of a young employee of a refuse collection firm shot down by four hooded attackers as he arrived at work in the La Ciotat district of Marseille on September 5th. The other was a 30-year-man gunned down by two men on a scooter near the Frais-Vallon metro station in North Marseille's 13th arrondissement. But it was the second of these two killings, the 13th so called tit-for-tat murder recorded this year in the Marseille area, that grabbed the headlines. For the victim was Adrien Anigo, son of José Anigo, the sporting director of one of France's top football clubs, Olympique Marseille, a young man who was due to appear in court with two others accused of a dozen jewellery thefts in 2006 and 2007.