A den overlooking Mont Blanc, the last refuge of Josu Ternera


The former head of ETA falls in France

Josu Ternera lived in the hamlet of Saint Nicolas de Veroce, an idyllic place in French Haute Savoie, a place of isolated hamlets, at the foot of the ski slopes


Mountain refuge in which Josu Ternera lived
THE WORLD (Video) // EFE (Photo)

At the entrance of Saint Nicolas de Veroce there is a panel with 13 indications: five related to skiing, three tourist, two officers, the church and its museum and the grocery store La Galta. Almost all closed.

M, the lady of theepiceríahas the door open. It's in the background but it comes out when a whistle prevents it from my presence. "A terrorist? Here? I've heard on the news that he was arrested in Sallanches, and he says he lived here? Do you have a picture?" It is clear that the woman wants to help the journalist, one of his few visits in the afternoon. But it is categorical: "that gentleman has never entered my store".

MaybeJosu VealI lived in the neighborhood. And make sport, as Europa Press account. But here I did not buy. That nose is unmistakable.

We go to church, the other place opened this afternoon. It is a splendid, luminous temple, with painted ribs and a monumental altarpiece. While it finishes what turns out to be a meeting "on patrimony", I read that that splendor is due to the donations of neighboring merchants who made fortune centuries ago inMunichYVienna. This valley is south ofGeneva, Switzerland), nearItaly.

Only two of the attendees, an elderly man and a young woman, are from the village. They have not heard of a "terrorist !!! Here?"

Yes, here. That at least the mayor ofSaint Gervais les Bains,Jean Marc Peillex. This municipality of 5,500 inhabitants of which St Nicolas is part is the highestFrance… because theMont Blanc(4810 m.) Is in its term. And he boasts of having invented winter tourism. Impolite, rich, on top of sports facilities.

José Antonio Urritikoetxea, 'Josu Ternera', moments before being arrested.

The town is half dead, with half the stores closed. "We are between the winter tourism season and the summer season, Valle moment," a veteran tells me.minisenyeraon your all-terrain bike. "I'm an independentistaSavoy"He explains," But peaceful. "He has heard the arrest of Josu Ternera in the news.

On the other side of the valley, after crossing the river is St Nicolas. The young man I pick up hitchhiking hallucinates when I talk to himVeal. When I'm leaving St. Nicolas, three hours later, a man walking his dog tells me that some customers of his pizzeria have commented that they saw very early on special forces policemen.

They have seen them at the end of the village, towards the plateau of La Croix. I climb to where the asphalt ends. 1,400 meters. The chair lift is stopped. From here above, the dispersed habitat is appreciated. It reminds me of the French Basque Country. On a larger scale. Green, with large farmhouses, with wood coatings, roofs with plates that prevent the snow from falling suddenly. Some, they exploit cattle. Others are residential. All very separated.

Nobody has seen him

Half of the houses have closed shutters. I call the others. What they open they have not seen anything. The lair ofJosu VealIt was on the next hill. High, with the front facade of wood, darkened by the inclemency of winter. The shutters closed. Behind it can be seen that part of the roof is tin, material that hides the junk that must be on the outside. Unlike the rest of the buildings, it looks ramshackle.

If it is true that he lived alone as Europa Press collects from sources of the fight against terrorism, he must weigh the size of a hamlet. Add the agency that went to the mountain to walk. To which they attribute their thinness.

He was unarmed when he was arrested in a parking lot in a medical center in Sallanches, 11 kilometers from here. This would explain why no one in the neighborhood noticed his arrest. He was carrying 4,000 euros and was accompanied by another person who was released.

This Friday,José Antonio Urrutikoetxeaappeared before theOffice of the Prosecutor of Paris, who notified you of the current arrest warrant. He is awaiting an eight-year sentence that was imposed on him when he was tried in absentia in June 2017. The agency Efe adds that he entered the prison of theSanté, to the south of the French capital, reopened in 2019 after four years of works to turn it into a maximum security center.

Spain has time to file extradition requests for several reasons. Among them, having ordered the attack against thebarracks house of Zaragozain 1987. For that reason he was summoned to declare before the Supreme Court, due to his condition as an autonomous parliamentarian, in 2002. He then fled. The last historical leader of ETA has finished these 17 years of escape in an alpine hideout. Cochambrosa but with great views. The moon has come out and the clouds are gone. Mont Blanc has a wonderful light.

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(tagsToTranslate) Spain (t) riots (t) conflicts and war – terrorism (t) Josu Ternera (t) ETA (t) France (t) Spain (t) detention (t) Guardia Civil

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