Europe

France: Asylum seeker fatally stabs official at center

Attack reportedly occurs after Sudanese refugee status rejected

Shweta Desai   | 20.02.2021
France: Asylum seeker fatally stabs official at center

PARIS

An official at a reception center for asylum seekers in southwest France was fatally stabbed Friday by a male seeking asylum, according to the La Rep de Pyrenees newspaper. 

The attack at the Isard Cos association in Pau in Pyrenees-Atlantiques reportedly occurred after the attacker’s refugee status was rejected.

The newspaper said a statement from public prosecutor Cecile Gensac indicated that the accused is a Sudanese, 38, who arrived in the morning to meet the head of the center. He was not staying at the association but had previously been treated at the facility.

The 46-year-old victim was stabbed multiple times in his office with a knife. The fatal blows were to his body and neck.

The accused was convicted twice for violence in 2017, according to prosecutors.

Mayor Francois Bayrou confirmed his asylum application was rejected by the Ofpra, or the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons, because of time spent in prison.

“It is a terrible drama,” Bayrou told the newspaper. “All the more shocking that the victim was hired to help these refugees.”

The attack shocked authorities and residents in the small commune of Pau.

Municipal councilor Olivier Dartigolles said the attack was appalling because Isard-Cos welcomes refugees and asylum seekers throughout the year.

The 257-bed center provides shelter and support to asylum seekers and helps in resettlement.

Its website said the center welcomes people who have fled their country and left everything behind. “It is important to welcome them in a secure context, because they arrive weakened by their history, their journey into exile and the anxieties they have experienced throughout the procedure.”

Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin announced he would visit the association and meet elected officials following the attack.

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