Two hurt in French police gun accident at Hollande event

VILLOGNON, France: A French policeman accidentally fired his weapon Tuesday, slightly injuring two people at an event where President Francois Hollande was speaking in southwestern France.

Hollande was inaugurating part of a high-speed rail line in Villognon, in the Charente region, when the accident occurred.

The policeman, a gendarme helping to provide security for the president, had inadvertently fired the gun.

He made a "mistake in the handling (of the firearm) while changing positions," an informed source said. A bullet was then discharged accidentally.

Local government chief Pierre N'Gahane said the gendarme "had been standing on an elevated point and the gun went off accidentally".

"The bullet grazed one person's calf and then lodged in another person's leg," he said, adding that the victims were in a VIP area next to where Hollande was speaking at the time.

Hollande interrupted his speech when the shot went off but his security detail did not intervene, and he resumed speaking shortly afterwards.

The victims were treated at the scene in a separate area from where the French president was speaking, before being taken away by firemen, who confirmed that the injuries were "minor".

N'Gahane told reporters that both victims were "not in danger" and that an investigation had been opened.

Witnesses said Hollande continued his speech after the incident.

N'Gahane told reporters that Hollande spoke briefly to the two injured guests before departing. — AFP