The president of Corsica’s national park was shot dead on Thursday, the third prominent public figure to be murdered on the French Mediterranean island in a space of six months.

Jean-Luc Chiappini (65) was ambushed and killed by an assassin on a high-powered motorbike as he drove from Ajaccio’s airport into the centre of the town, Corsica’s administrative centre.

His killing follows similar execution-style hits on top lawyer Antoine Sollacaro, on October 16, 2012, and the president of southern Corsica’s chamber of commerce, Jacques Nacer, on November 15, 2012. It was the 10th murder, on the island of 310,000 people, this year and the 29th since the start of last year. The slayings have left the idyllic Mediterranean island with the unwelcome tag of having the highest murder rate in Europe.

Feuds

Police believe most of the killings were linked to feuds between rival criminal gangs with ties to sections of the Corsican nationalist movement.

Most murders on the island are not solved, but police have charged three men in connection with the killing of Sollacaro. — AFP