French press review 4 April 2016

Text by: William Niba
6 min

Comoro boy at the centre of 12-day airport expulsion saga allowed to stay, the Garissa massacre marked by marathon without stars; UN Security Council to send  police force to Burundi; the hidden agenda of France's new anti-racism campaigners, and 42,000 valiant runners win "high security" Paris Marathon.


We begin with a happy African story which is lifting hearts here in Paris. It's Le Monde's front page report about the granting of a residence permit to eight year old Ibrahim from the Comoro Islands, after a 12-day ordeal at the detention centre at Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport.

The little boy who travelled 8,000 kms to come and stay with his great aunt, was detained on 21 March as he arrived in Paris. Immigration police questionned the authenticity of his passport. The boy is reported to have gone through hell, three appearances before a judge for resisting expulsion back to the Comoros and life behind a barb-wired detention centre.

Le Monde

The commemoration of Kenya's Garissa University massacre on 2 April was bitter, writes the evening newspaper. One year ago today, Al Shebab terrorists raided a university campus close to the north-eastern border with Somalia killing 147 students. The jihadists arrested are yet to be tried. 

More than 50 Nairobi schools and universities held a candle lit tribute and a tiny memorial was unveiled amidst tight security. But the overall impression is that Kenyans have turned the page.

This, well before the jihadists arrested in connection with the attack are even tried. A high profile marathon organised to mark the event attracted only 500 runners, with none of Kenya's track and field stars in attendance.

La Croix

The UN Security Council has voted unanimously to send a police force to Burundi where President Pierre Nkurunziza's party, set up during the 1990's bush war, is waging a reign of terror, according to the Catholic paper. Bujumbura is muzzling critics and cracking down on the opposition, says La Croix. It adds that the security forces loyal to the regime fear an armed insurrection and are committing atrocities, and warns that a genocide is looming.


France is facing a fresh problem as a new type of anti-racism activists wage their campaigns on the streets and on the internet. According to the left-leaning newspaper, while they denounce issues such as the ban on the Islamic veil, police violence, post-colonialism and discrimination, their real agenda seems to be dividing society along radical lines.

Le Figaro

It's "audit time" for the opposition Républicains party (LR) in regions won during last December's elections. Socialists left behind mountains of debt after an extensive spending spree in 21 out of the 22 regions under their control, says Le Figaro. The right-wing paper picks out the Loire region where the former administration left behind a debt of 479 million euros. It also cites a pleasure trip to the Cannes Film festival for 23 Ile de France councillors in 2015 which cost 258,000 euros.


A wide shot of the Arc of Triumph at the start of Sunday's Paris Marathon tells the story of a great run. The race finished without incident. Security forces were on high alert in the wake of the Paris and Brussels bombings. Cyprian Kotut, who had won the half-marathon in the French capital less than a month ago, led a Kenya one-two-three at the finish line.

But for the sports daily, it was all 41,708 competitors who won. Their names are published in today's special issue so that this 40th edition of the prestigious race may  never be forgotten.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning