An interior story in which one of the main actors is in the small green living room which adjoins the office of the President of the Republic. It is in this setting that Bernard Cazeneuve experienced the outcome of the Hyper Cacher hostage taking .
Interviewed by France Info when the trial of the 14 accused of the attacks of that day and those of January 7 – the Charlie Hebdo killing , the Montrouge attack, that of the Hyper Cacher – opened this Wednesday in Paris , he recounts the tension and the exchanges of those dark hours of January 9, 2015.
Almost five and a half years ago, when the RAID and the BRI stormed at 5:12 p.m. on January 9, 2015, at Porte de Vincennes in the Jewish grocery store of Hyper Cacher, on a Sabbath day, Bernard Cazeneuve is Minister of the Interior. From the Élysée Palace, he follows the event down to the minute, alongside the President of the Republic.
A reminder of the facts, five years later
″ At that moment, I am in what is called the green room, the small room which is near the office of the President of the Republic. […] There is the president, the Prime Minister and the Keeper of the Seals ”, tells the politician. He then went on site, Porte de Vincennes.
With the special forces, the head of the judicial police and the Paris police chief at the time. Together they are studying the possibilities of intervening in the Hyper Cacher where a terrorist, originally from Grigny and radicalized, is holding 24 people hostage.
When Bernard Cazeneuve returned to the Élysée to give François Hollande the details of the conditions of intervention, 24 people were held hostage in the Hyper Cacher. Six were hidden by an employee in a cold room, four were killed and 14 are with the terrorist.
Several kilometers away, in Seine-et-Marne, the two brothers responsible for the Charlie Hebdo massacre took refuge in a printing press in the industrial zone of Dammartin-en-Goële. At the Hyper Cacher, the hostage taker warned: if the GIGN stormed Dammartin where his two mad companions are, he will kill everyone.
Two assaults at the same time
After this declaration by the terrorist and on the orders of François Hollande, Bernard Cazeneuve is therefore at the heart of this delicate mission to act on both fronts at the same time: Porte de Vincennes and Seine-Et-Marne, to avoid new deaths .
It was not until an attempt to escape on the part of the two terrorists who had taken refuge in the printing press and their immediate death during an assault that lasted less than a minute for that of the Hyper Cacher to be immediately given.
“I call the Paris police prefect,” said the Minister of the Interior at the time, I gave him this instruction [to storm Porte de Vincennes, note ] and he did not hang up the phone. […] He takes another to instruct his collaborators to assault. So I keep hearing … ”
On the France Info platform, archive images circulate on screens. A few minutes earlier, the channel had broadcast the sound extract of the order of the police to blow up the window to enter the large grocery store.
“It is very moving for me to hear what you have gone through, because these are documents that I had not seen or heard”, resumes Bernard Cazeneuve before relaunching himself in the story: ”At that time , I hear the conflagrations on the phone and then a blank voice that counts … It’s that of the Paris police chief. ”
The Minister of the Interior still has the phone glued to his ear. He doesn’t know what is being counted. “Up to the number 14”, he says on the channel 27 set. “I understand then that he is counting the hostages who come out,” he continues. “And having arrived at the number 14, I tell myself that there is a good chance that all the hostages alive could have been saved.”
In the office of the President of the Republic, where Bernard Cazeneuve rushes, he discovers François Hollande, from behind, at the window. He also counting.