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Three Sudanese Arrested over French Stabbing

Three Sudanese Arrested over French Stabbing

Monday, 6 April, 2020 - 04:15
French municipal police officers at the site of a knife attack in Romans-sur-Isere, France. Jeff Pachoud/Agence France-Presse
Paris - Asharq Al-Awsat

French police have arrested three Sudanese nationals after a stabbing spree in the southeast left two people dead, investigators said on Sunday.

Prosecutors have launched an investigation into "murder linked to a terrorist enterprise" and "association with terrorist wrongdoers" after the rampage through a string of shops in the riverside town of Romans-sur-Isere.

The attack by a lone perpetrator took place in broad daylight Saturday, with the country on lockdown to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The alleged assailant, identified as Abdallah Ahmed-Osman -- a Sudanese refugee in his 30s who lives in the town -- was arrested without a fight.

Police arrested a second Sudanese man aged 28 at Ahmed-Osman's home shortly after the assault. He was described as an acquaintance of the alleged attacker.

Later Saturday "a young Sudanese man from the same household" as the main suspect was also arrested, the anti-terror prosecutor's office told AFP.

The third suspect was an asylum seeker.

The assailant first went into a tobacco shop where he attacked the owner and his wife, the town's mayor Marie-Helene Thoraval told AFP.

He then went to a butcher's shop where he seized another knife before heading to the town center and attacking people outside a bakery.

Five people were injured in the spree, two remain in intensive care in stable condition.

Ahmed-Osman obtained refugee status in France in June 2017, according to investigators. He was previously unknown to the police or intelligence services.

The initial investigation has "brought to light a determined, murderous course" that was targeted "to seriously disturb public order through intimidation or terror.”

It said that during a search of the suspect's home, "handwritten documents with religious connotations.”

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