West Europe

French policemen who took place of hostage hailed as ‘martyr’

Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame. Photo: EPA

The French gendarme who courageously took the place of a hostage in last week’s supermarket siege in Trèbes has been hailed as a martyr by church leaders.

Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame died of gunshot and stab wounds on 24 March. The 44-year-old Catholic had voluntarily taken the place of a female cashier, even though the Islamist gunman had already killed three people.

At a memorial service in Trèbes on Sunday (25 March), Bishop Alain Planet of Carcassonne hailed Arnaud’s bravery, saying, “A life that has been given cannot be lost.”

President Macron stated that the former paratrooper and head of a Republican Guard security company at the Elysée Palace had “died a hero.”

Arnaud is understood to have returned to his Christian faith after a conversion experience in his thirties.