Alps Shootings & Foreign Office Advice

Like me, I'm sure everyone is shocked and saddened by the news of the shooting of the British family in the Alps and even more shocked about the discovery many hours later of the poor little 4 year old girl who survived and will surely be scarred for life by this incident. We hope that the girl's older sister pulls through and our thoughts are with them both for a recovery both physical and mentally as much as is possible. I can't imagine what they are going through.

My purpose for this post however is to highlight the Foreign Office Advice:

We are aware of an incident near Lake Annecy, which is the subject of a French police investigation. We have no information to suggest that there is a wider threat to UK nationals as a result of this incident. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely. If you are in the area, you should follow the advice of the local authorities.

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Travel Summary (incident near Lake Annecy). The overall level of the advice has not changed; there are no travel restrictions in place in this travel advice for France.

The reason I feel this needs to be brought to your attention is that some of the UK newspapers are linking the shooting to the 'gangs' targeting foreign tourists in France and even suggesting that the Foreign Office has warned tourists about travel to France & Spain. These articles are scare-mongering and likely to have a negative effect on both tourism in France and on the families of those of us who live/travel to France regularly as I found out today.

We're due to travel back home to the South of France tomorrow and the news being passed around in London has been that 'I should check the news about travelling to France because of gang related shootings of tourists' Ignoring that I'm not a tourist but I do have a UK plated car. Should I feel threatened? I don't think so.

Once again quoting the Foreign Office website: Around 19,300,000 British nationals visit France every year (Source: Ministry of Tourism). Most visits are trouble-free.

I am sure the French police will do everything they can & work closely with Surrey Police (that is where the family came from) to discover what happened and to catch whoever did this, but my plea to everyone else out there - especially the Survive France community is not to join in the scaremongering. It's tragic what has happened but there is NO EVIDENCE at the moment that gangs are targeting British Families in BMWs so I won't be changing my car nor will I let this incident ruin my trip home. Please don't let these newspaper articles ruin your holiday or that of your family/friends. France is a beautiful and as safe a country as the UK or other Western countries. Be vigilant but don't be scared.

Thanks Andy - well spotted. I hadn't seen that! So someone reads my blogs then :)

read as much. There are a group (ok, four people) of expats in the area who have been mouthing off about local police all around the lake, and how they feel the police didn't do their job "because the car had a UK reg".

honestly, I do recall two incidents where gendarmes were reluctant, and in one case, refusing to respond to calls for help because the victims were British.

Still, this is not about anti-Brit racism... the bottom line is, if someone hires a hit-man to take you out... you must have an inkling, and there must be a reason.

Hi Suzanne did you know you got a mention on France 24's web site.

Tracy, fifty percent of the problem is that the likes of the Mail and Torygraph are always looking for weaknesses in other countries to show how hunkydory it is in the UK and Murdoch's lot are obsessed with inflating anything out of all proportion. So, as you say, it puts the 'gang non-news' into perspective but feeds the UK press with 'where else would 13 year old gang members steal cars' possibilities. That's where reality and what the people who believe they are being advised by the government depart one from the other and those people are mislead by fictions.

I think this was a professional hit probably by MOSSAD, and the perpetrators will have scooted over the border to Geneva or into Italy and been on the first flight to Tel Aviv. I say this as the male victim was involved with

a nuclear programme. Therefore, this is totally unrelated to gang threats! TIMOTHY

As an interesting contrast to this terrible event, I would like to tell everyone about the headlines in todays 'Bien Public' for Burgundy. "13 year old steals car!" It kind of puts the information that the British Press are putting out into perspective, where else would this make headlines? Certainly not in a place riddled with gang warfare.

It's looking increasingly like a family or business score issue, but could it be related to the husband's work? In any event my belief is that a foreigner in Britain is just as likely (i.e. not very likely but possibly) to be involved in problems. A french guy was killed in London not so long ago, and I think a girl somewhere in the UK. I certainly feel generally safer in France, even in Paris, than I do in London for example. On the other hand we were assaulted by gypsies in Moscow, my wife's hadbag was snatched in Paris (in the metro), my sons were both attacked by gangs of muggers in London, armed with weapons (one assailant eventually got 7 years), my house in London was burgled twice, my parent's house in Bermuda three times, my aunt's in Kent once, I was mugged in Amsterdam and involuntarily drugged in Miami. My isolated village in Brittany has seen problems with isolted holiday homes being "done" by esatern Europena gangs. One feels enormously for those two girls. It looks like a very clinical and professional job and it seems that the father was aware that there was a problem. It's going to be a very difficult job to get the person or persons responsible. Some considerable preparation must have been done but one is informed that the holiday was a last minute idea.

Bravo Suzanne, whatever rumours and rumblings are, the scurrilous press that has yet another reason to knock 'Johnny Foreigner' should be ashamed of themselves.

Whatever the reason behind this, lunatic or planned job - I really dislike the way the media links it with Gangs and tries to indicate a link before there is any evidence of that. I also dislike the way they try to link it to Foreign Office Advice implying there is more for tourists/expats to worry about than there is. It's pure scare-mongering tactics and it's ridiculous. As more information on this sad story is published then these articles will hopefully slink away until the next time a truly rare event occurs and it they will be pulled out again...

@Caroline - I am sure everyone around you is truly shocked and I do hope more legitimate information comes out soon AND that they catch whoever did this awful act - I know how odd it was when the Russian Banker was shot just down the road from us (literally 5mins) earlier this year - it was immediately known it was a hitman job but it still didn't stop us feeling a bit weird knowing that he had walked down the same road that I use to go to the Dr's with the kids. I do wonder though if Guns are now like rats - there's always one close by unfortunately.

My thoughts are also with the family of the French cyclist, his wife and children.

In perpesctive let's just cast our minds back to not that long ago, when this type of thing was happening in Northern Ireland and on occasion in mainland Britain we got quite used to it, this one is a bit of a mystery I agree but apart from the sympathy felt will turn out to be nothing to do with us.

I live on the other side of the lake from Duingt, but a local policeman has mirrored much of what has been used as excuses... forensics, the children having been already accounted for, and so on. A friend who happens to be a paramedic with the pompiers mentioned that it is not the first, or only trouble in the area with "racial issues". The cyclist was in the wrong place at the wring time, according to her. The racial issues have apparently been going on for some time.

I will not change anything about my routine... trouble finds its way wherever it does, and we have gangs closer to here who have never done me any harm.

I am a new member to Survive France living in the UK with an old watermill we are renovating near Salviac in the Lot. At present back in UK and as horrified as everyone else as this tragic story has unfolded. My thoughts go out to this family and all they have suffered. I nurse babies and young children so my thoughts are especially with these two little girls and a mother who most likely saved her 4yr. old daughter’s life by hiding her under her dress and bags etc. I am on duty tonight and I hope tomorrow brings positive news about her 8yr. old sister.

Yep. They also looked in through the shattered windows and saw nothing moving at all, and their helicopter with heat-seeking capability didn't pick it up either. It's a pity, horrible at the time, but she's alive and well.

The reason the French police are giving that they did not find the 4 year old was that, until they visited the campsite and found that there were two young children in the party,they were not aware of the possibility. Until then, keeping the site free for forensics took priority.

Lots of speculation, very little solid information. Actually I hate it when terrorists in general "win" by causing all kinds of ridiculous overreaction compared with the real level of risk that people face in their everyday lives. I live about 100km from Annecy and something like this won't make me think twice about going to that area.

My OH's ex-boyfriend in Geneva has just messaged her that it is rumoured to be a revenge hit by a member of another family from Iraq.

Bernadette, what I meant about let reporting if it was 'at home' is that the scaremongering about gangs targetting people in France and Spain would not have been thrown in.

A friend in Geneva emailed to say it has affected the entire UN and voluntary sector community, especially with so many people living in and around Annecy. It is a numbing rather than frightening sensation. It is an area with a lot of potential for these things happening and if it has anything to do with Iraqi origins as Sandra is saying is a possibility, then it will throw a lot of people into uncertainty because many have fled their countries and are campaigning on sensitive issues, thus have had threats and warnings. That is scary because it has always been a ticking bomb.

I don't disagree Celeste, but 15 rounds and three dead, either a very sloppy hit or very professional in trying to make it look amateur.

As you say, who knows?

I have a feeling that the Iraqi roots of the British family may have something to do with this outrage.