France to create ‘National Guard’ to fight terrorism: President Francois Hollande

Francois HollandeParis : President François Hollande announced that France would be creating the ‘National Guard’, an independent force, intended to counter the increasing terror attacks on the country. It was last Tuesday that two IS terrorists stormed into a church and killed a priest. The second attack in a span of merely two weeks, this was preceded by one on 14th July that claimed 84 lives.

Over the last one, year a spate of terror attacks has rocked France. Since January 2015 more than 10 terror attacks have claimed more than 250 lives. A state of emergency was declared following the attack in Paris in November 2015. Initially meant to be in place for only three months, the state of emergency has been extended until January 2017.

However, France continues to suffer terrorist attacks despite the Emergency. Going by media reports over the last few days, the government has been receiving a lot of flak from the people on the terrorism issue. Prime Minister Manuel Valls even had to face public wrath at the memorial service for the Nice attack. The Normandy attack too has been traced to the IS and that has added to the fair share of troubles that the government is already faced with.

FranceOn this background, the French President’s announcement of the National Guard has surely drawn attention. As he made the announcement, President Hollande informed that the ‘National Guard’ would be created from among the ‘Reserve Forces’. He stated also that the ‘Defence Council’ would meet next month to take further decisions with regard to the constitution of the new force and the process of its formation would immediately follow the parliamentary consultations in September. The ‘National Guard’ would draw from the Police force, the Paramilitary forces and the troops of the military.

In November President Hollande had announced the expansion of the security forces to counter terrorism. In keeping with this decision 5000 additional policemen, 1000 soldiers of the Customs and Border Security Force, 2500 judicial officers and more than 9000 soldiers of the military were to be recruited although the implementation of this decision has not been confirmed yet. Apart from the expansion of the security forces, the legal provisions against terrorism were also supposed to be made more stringent.

However, the Nice and the Normandy attacks indicate that the announcements made earlier by the French President have had very little impact which fact again is the reason why the announcement of the ‘National Guard’ draws attention. After the attack on Tuesday, Hollande had declared that the country was at war following which an announcement was made of the posting of armed troops at beaches frequented by tourists and at other important places.

In the meanwhile, it has come to the fore that the perpetrators of the Normandy attack were on the list of suspected terrorists of the French Intelligence Agencies. Analysts therefore allege that the lack of co-ordination in the French Agencies is responsible for the Normandy attack.