A Niger national attacked with a knife two Danish journalists working in Gabon’s capital Libreville, the country’s defense minister said.
The two reporters for the National Geographic channel were in a popular market for tourist souvenirs on Saturday, when a Nigerien national living in Gabon lunged at them with the knife, Defense Minister Etienne Kabinda Makaga said in a statement on Gabonese television.
One reporter was left in serious condition.
After his arrest, the 53-year-old suspect, who has lived in Gabon for 19, told authorities he was carrying out a revenge attack against the United States for recognizing Israel’s capital as Jerusalem, Makaga added, giving no further explanation.
“A judicial investigation was immediately opened at the public prosecutor’s office of Libreville to establish if the acts of the aggressor were isolated or a conspiracy,” Makaga said.
Police have since arrested dozens of people in connection to the attack.
The men detained were mostly traders and sellers in the popular market in Libreville where the attack occurred on Saturday -- and all are from west Africa, according to an AFP correspondent.
They were taken to police headquarters were they are due to be questioned, an official said.
"Operations are ongoing," government spokesman Alain-Claude Bilie By Nze told AFP. "We are not commenting at this stage."
The market in Libreville, popular with tourists, was shut down after the incident and remained closed on Sunday, with security forces manning the gates.
Authorities have said the attack appeared to be politically motivated, but have not publicly classified it as terrorism.