While it has been widely reported that the Kouachi brothers, Said and Cherif, were extreme in their Islamist view of the world, new reports are suggesting that the fact their mother committed suicide when they were just 10 and 12 may have affected them psychologically.
The Daily Mail reported that back in 1992, the Kouachi brothers returned home from school one day for lunch to find their mother lying dead in their family apartment in northeast Paris, an incident which may well have understandably troubled them.
Even though the death at the time of the Kouachi brother’s mother was said to be caused by “illness,” neighbors reported that she was pregnant for a sixth time, and it is widely understood that she took her own life.
Fast-forward 22 years and those same brothers, who perhaps went for years without the appropriate therapy to help them deal with that tragedy, walk into the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris and murder 12 people in cold blood while proclaiming the ideology of Islam.
The account of the death of Mrs Kouachi was given by a woman named Evelyne, who ran a voluntary group to help impoverished children in the same block as the Kouachi family in the 19th arrondissement of Paris in the 1990s.
According to her, as reported by the Reporterre website, Kouachi had often taken the boys on trips to EuroDisney and other tourist sites. and while the younger brother, Cherif, was naughty and “turbulent,” the older brother, Saïd, was quieter, cried a lot and seemed to follow his younger brother rather than the other way around.
In speaking to the website, Evelyne said that she had to “watch Cherif like you watch milk on the stove… [But] I adored that child. You only had to sweet-talk him and take him in your arms and he would calm down. I found him quite touching – under the spell of Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters, like all children. A few months after the trip to EuroDisney, Cherif came back from school, accompanied, as ever, by his older bother.”
“They found their mother lying dead in the centre of the flat. Dead from what cause? She had taken too many pills. Most people assumed it was a suicide,” she shared.
Having lived in foster care in Brittany, the brothers were sent in 1994 to an orphanage-school in Corrèze, in the south-west of France.
Teachers from that school spoke recently about the brothers, saying they had a passion for soccer and never caused any trouble.
Then again, another report from the Swiss newspaper, Le Matin, claims that a boy called Cedric, who was at the same orphanage at the same time as the Kouachi brothers, said they were violent and certainly knew how to handle themselves, “How can you describe it? It was very violent. There were constant fights. Some of the teachers were scared of us.”
The Kouachi brothers were “respected” because they could “handle themselves,” he said, “Cherif was very good with his fists but, above all, he was a bit of a lad,” Cédric recalled, “He was a fan of [the comedian and actor] Djamel Debbouze and football.”