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Million Franc Reward Offered for Terrorist Arrests

November 19, 1986

PARIS (AP) _ French authorities on Wednesday offered a million franc reward for information leading to the arrest of terrorists, including two women suspected of killing Renault president Georges Besse.

The reward, worth $154,000, could be collected by anyone who provides information leading to the arrest of anyone responsible for a terrorist attack. It was offered on ″wanted″ posters carrying photographs of two women members of the left-wing Direct Action terrorist organization. The two are sought as ″witnesses″ to Besse’s slaying.

A national funeral was planned for Friday for Besse, who was shot down Monday night in front of his central Paris home. President Francois Mitterrand and Premier Jacques Chirac were to attend the service at the Invalides national memorial. A eulogy will be delivered by Defense Minister Andre Giraud, a friend of Besse, 58, since their college days.

The women sought are Nathalie Menigon, 29, the long-time companion of Jean- Marc Rouillon, one of the founders of Direct Action, and Joelle Aubron, 27, the wife of Regis Schleicher.

Schleicher and two other members of Direct Action, founded in 1979, go on trial next month on charges of killing two Paris policemen.

Direct Action claimed responsibility for Besse’s slaying in pamphlets found in a Paris subway station.

A police spokesman, commenting on condition of anonymity, said witnesses to the murder provided only a vague description of two women assailants. The wanted poster was part of a police ″working hypothesis,″ he said.

The reward and public poster tactic was used for the first time earlier this year to seek members of the Abdallah family of Lebanon. Various Abdallah brothers were accused of taking part in a series of bloody bomb attacks in Paris in September aimed at freeing Georges Ibrahim Abdallah from a French jail.

Interior Minister Charles Pasqua called on citizens to help authorities in the search for Besse’s killers, saying his murder was ″a matter which concerns all of us.″

According to eyewitness reports, Besse was shot three times by one of two women waiting for him as he walked 50 yards from his chauffeur-driven car toward his apartment.

His chauffeur was also his bodyguard, but Besse did not like close protection and had no other guards, Renault officials said.

The French Cabinet paid homage to Besse at its regular meeting Wednesday. Industry Minister Alain Madelin said, ″France has lost a great servant,″ according to spokesman Georges Chavanes. Besse was posthumously named a Commander of the Legion of Honor.

There was no immediate indication whom the government would name to succeed Besse as head of the state-owned auto company. Besse was widely credited with turning around the company, which had been showing heavy losses, since he became its president in January 1985.

Aime Jardon, Renault’s technical director and assistant managing-director, has taken interim control of operations, but he is not seeking the top job, according to French newspapers.

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