In March 1996, seven French Trappist monks were kidnapped from their mountainside monastery in Tibhirine, Algeria. Two months later, their heads were found on a roadside in the same region, some hanging from trees in plastic bags. The circumstances of the killings remain a mystery amid suggestions of a cover-up by the French and Algerian authorities. A French judge is leading a revived investigation into the massacre but, just as he appeared to be approaching a breakthrough this year, Mediapart has learnt that key evidence has been declared missing from government archives.
In March 1996, seven French Cisterian Trappist monks were kidnapped from their monastery in Tibhirine, Algeria. Their heads were found two months later, on a nearby roadside, some hanging from trees in plastic bags. Their murders remain a mystery, despite initial official claims that Islamic extremists were responsible. An ongoing French judicial investigation is exploring the theory that they were mistakenly murdered by the Algerian army, and their bodies mutilated in an appalling cover-up. In this second report on the mystery, we reveal extracts from three secret French intelligence reports prepared by General Philippe Rondot, the 'super-spy' assigned to the case.
In May 1996 the heads of seven French Trappist monks, kidnapped from their monastery in Tibhirine, Algeria, were found by a roadside. Their murders remain a mystery, despite official claims that Islamic extremists were responsible. The tragedy is the subject of the French film 'Des hommes et des dieux', a huge box-office hit. An ongoing French judicial investigation is exploring the theory that they were mistakenly murdered in an Algerian army raid. In the first of a two-part report, we return to the moment when Mediapart first revealed the astonishing evidence suggesting a cover-up by both the Algerian and French authorities.