Saturday, 24 March 2018

A modern martyr

Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame
A tragic day in the south of France left four people dead in what turned out to be a terrorist attack. Among the victims was a French police officer who swapped himself for a hostage in a supermarket siege on Friday, a modern-day martyr. Lt-Col Arnaud Beltrame, 45, "fell as a hero" and showed "exceptional courage", French President Emmanuel Macron said. The gendarme helped bring an end to a gunman's shooting spree that killed three in Carcassonne in southern France. The attacker, a 25-year-old Moroccan, was shot dead as police brought the siege to an end. Interior Minister GĂ©rard Collomb said: "Beltrame died for his country. France will never forget his heroism, his bravery, his sacrifice." The violence began on Friday morning, where the attacker hijacked a car. He killed a passenger - whose body was later found hidden in a bush - and injured the driver. He then shot at a group of policemen who were out jogging, wounding one of them. He then went into a supermarket and held hostage various people. Police officers had managed to get some people out of the supermarket but the gunman had held one woman back as a human shield. It was at this point that Lt-Col Beltrame had volunteered to swap himself for her. As he did so, he left his mobile phone on a table with an open line so that police outside could monitor the situation. When police heard gunshots, a tactical team stormed the supermarket. The gunman was killed and Lt-Col Beltrame was injured, but died later at the hospital. Beltrame made the ultimate sacrifice and lived this Gospel message from John 15:13: "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one`s life for his friends." Beltrame probably never knew the female hostage, until she was released, but gave his life so that she can live....truly a modern day martyr.

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