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Seychelles political exile killed in London

November 29, 1985 GMT

LONDON (AP) _ A gunman killed a Seychelles exile outside his London home Friday. Former President James Manchem of the Indian Ocean republic, who was overthrown by the man now in power, called the victim ″a political martyr.″

Police identified him as Gerard Hoaraw, 34, but the Home Office said his surname was spelled Hoareau in papers granting him refugee status.

Amnesty International, the human rights group, said Hoareau was president of the Seychellois National Movement, an exiled opposition group. He had been an immigration official in the Mancham government.

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Albert Rene, current president of the island nation, overthrew Mancham in 1977.

Mancham, who now lives in London, told reporters Hoareau ″committed himself to the overthrow of the government and spoke openly about it. Many times Rene said the resistance movement would pay for its activities.″ Hoareau ″has become a political martyr,″ he said.

A Foreign Office spokesman, who would not permit his name to be used, said it was ″too soon to blame anyone or say if this is an example of state-aided terrorism.″

A Scotland Yard statement said Hoareau had just left his home in the outlying Edgeware district at about 10:15 a.m. when he was ″shot a number of times in his driveway by one man from the other side of the road.″

It said anti-terrorist detectives took over the investigation because the victim was ″a man with foreign political connections.″

His attacker was described as a bearded man, aged 35-40, armed with an automatic weapon.

Rene has said Hoareau helped organize mercenaries who tried to overthrow his government in 1981.

Robert F. Delpech, the Seychelles ambassador, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview he was ″shocked and worried about such a thing happening.″

Delpech said in response to allegations that his government was involved: ″The man has been in this country long enough to have local enemies of his own. We released five mercenaries who were condemned to death after two years in detention. That’s not a sign of a people who go around shooting others.″

There are ″proofs that he (Hoareau) was associated with the 1981 coup″ attempt, but as far as the Seychelles government is concerned, ″he was a political refugee in this country, and that’s all we know about him,″ Delpech said.

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The Home Office said Rene’s government had asked informally that Hoareau be sent home for trial, but Britain refused and no formal extradition request was made.

The Seychelles, a cluster of 94 islands with a population of about 65,000, became independent in 1976. Mancham was overthrown in 1977 while abroad for a meeting of the Commonwealth, the association of Britain and its former colonies.

Rene, who had been Mancham’s prime minister, took the nation to the left politically.

Amnesty International said in a statement that it has urged Rene to authorize an impartial inquiry into reports of killings and disappearances of political opponents, but had received no response.

Two people disappeared late last year in the Seychelles and were believed killed by security forces on suspicion that they opposed Rene’s government, Amnesty said. It identified them as Jean Guillaume and Alton Ah-Time.