French police surrounded a museum in Southern France after at least one man holed himself inside the premises and wrote threatening messages on the building’s walls in Arabic. According to reports in local media, at least one man was inside the archaeological museum in the Mediterranean town of Saint-Raphael. The man, possibly with an accomplice, broke in overnight and refused to communicate with police.
"The museum is going to be a hell," said one of those inscriptions visible from outside the museum.
This person (persons) refused police's offer to come out, surrender or communicate. According to French newspapers, police were waiting for the intervention of the elite RAID unit. The "Research, Assistance, Intervention, Deterrence" or RAID unit is specially trained for such situations.
According to reports, the police were alerted about the man by a housekeeper, who found an Arabic inscription on the wall upon her arrival for work. She could not open the front door which blocked from inside.
French media said it was unclear if the man was armed or if there were hostages but said he had written Arabic messages on the walls.
A police spokesman said: "We must remain very cautious because we do not have at the moment any information on his motivation, we would be more faced with an imbalance."
Meanwhile, loce police issued an alert advising people to avoid the area if possible.
In a Twitter message police warned people to avoid the area in the historic centre of the resort town tucked between Cannes and Saint-Tropez.
"The entire neighbourhood is locked down... We've been ordered to stay in the restaurant," Sebastian, an employee at the Duplex restaurant opposite the museum, told the local Nice-Matin newspaper.
The museum, a historic monument, includes a medieval stone church and a vast collection of amphoras and other items from the region's Roman history.