The Elysee announced Saturday night that a national tribute will be given to Arnaud Beltrame, the gendarme who took the place of a hostage in Trèbes, during the terrorist attack in Aube.
Lieutenant-Colonel Gendarmerie Arnaud Beltrame , who died after replacing a hostage of the jihadist killer of Aude, aroused admiration Saturday in France for being faithful until his last breath to his sense of “sacrifice” .
“By giving his life to put an end to the deadly equipment of a jihadist terrorist, he has fallen into a hero,” said President Emmanuel Macron, before the Elysee announced that national homage would be returned .
Le lieutenant-colonel A. Beltrame est tombé en héros pour mettre un terme à l’équipée meurtrière d’un terroriste djihadiste. J’adresse à sa veuve, à ses proches, à ses frères d’armes mes condoléances les plus sincères et j’appelle chaque Français à honorer sa mémoire.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) 24 March 2018
For his family, however, Beltrame’s act of bravery was obvious, given the convictions peppered with the body of the gendarme who had committed 23 years ago as reserve officer in the artillery before climbing the ladder of the gendarmerie.
“He said to me: + I do my job mom, that’s all +,” said his mother at the microphone of RTL. “It does not surprise me (…) It has always been like that,” she added.
“In shock”, his wife, a veterinarian, said that it was in his nature “to go all the way, to be of service to others”, confirmed on BFM TV General Richard Lizurey, Director General of the National Gendarmerie.
“Madness of sacrifice”
“Only his faith can explain the madness of this sacrifice that is today the admiration of all,” said Father Jean-Baptiste, who accompanied Arnaud Beltrame and his wife Marielle in their preparation for religious marriage, scheduled for June . “He knew that his life (…) was also with God, with France, with his brothers in danger of death”, wrote the priest on the site of the diocese, evoking in particular the “authentic conversion” of the policeman to almost 33 years old.
For Philippe Charuel, grand master of the Grand Lodge of France, of which Arnaud Beltrame was initiated, “when one enters the Grand Lodge, one says that one must be ready to give up one’s last drop of blood for values, for the Republic, for the country … He had weighed this commitment, which is not only symbolic “.
Sensitive missions in Iraq
The 44-year-old lieutenant-colonel, a slender figure with clear eyes, whose family originated in Morbihan, had graduated from the Ecole Militaire Interarmes de Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan in 1999, where his superiors had discovered in him a soldier. “Who fights to the end and never gives up,” according to the Elysee.
He had also graduated from the gendarmerie officer school in 2001 before being retained in 2003 with six other gendarmes out of 80 candidates to join the GSIGN (now GIGN). He was then a member of the National Force Gendarmerie Parachute Intervention Squadron (EPIGN), an elite unit.
“He carried out extremely sensitive missions in Iraq” as in 2005 “where he participated in an extremely difficult mission of extraction of a French national,” said General Lizurey.
Later became company commander in the Republican Guard assigned for four years to the security of the Elysee Palace, he was also commander of the company Avranches (Manche) until 2014, before becoming adviser to the Secretary General of the Ministry of Ecology.
“You are very courageous”
Married without children, Arnaud Beltrame had just arrived in the prefecture of Aude as deputy officer of the departmental gendarmerie group.
And Saturday, in front of the barracks where were stationed two gendarmes on duty, residents of Carcassonne and surrounding areas flocked despite the rain and filed dozens of bouquets of flowers in tribute to the gendarme.
On these bouquets, cards of condolence or handwritten letters like that of the little Lilou saying: “At the school, we were very afraid (…) You are very courageous”.
“He’s a hero, I have not slept all night, I prayed a lot, thinking that there would be a miracle, that he would be saved. He saved lives, “said Marie-Claire Castel, a resident of Montlegun, near Trèbes.