A Sudanese refugee was in custody in France today after stabbing two people to death and wounding seven others in a suspected lone wolf terrorist attack during the coronavirus lockdown.
The bloodbath took place in the town of Romans-sur-Isère, which is south of the eastern city of Lyon, late on Saturday morning.
It corresponded to numerous suicidal knife attacks carried out by Islamic State-linked terrorists in France in recent years.
This time, the 33-year-old – who has been identified as Abdallah A.O – was heard to shout ‘Alluhu Akbar’ – Arabic for ‘God is the Greatest’ – before lashing out with a blade.
When police arrived the man screamed ‘Kill me! Kill me!’, but the officers were able to arrest him without harming him.
France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castener later described how the man – who arrived from Sudan a few months ago but who was not previously known to police – attacked his victims in a bakery, a tobacconist and then out on the street, before police intervened at around 11am.
France’s anti-terrorism prosecutors said Abdallah had been seeking asylum in the country despite ‘complaining about living in a country of non-believers’.
A spokesman for the office said: ‘During a search carried out at his home, police found handwritten documents with religious connotation in which the author of the lines complains in particular of living in a country of non-believers.’…
The Sudanese are one of the biggest groups seeking asylum in France, with many feeling violence and extreme poverty in the Darfur region, as well as political persecution….
‘He was found on his knees on the pavement praying in Arabic,’ the prosecutor’s office said.
‘Anyone who had the misfortune to find themselves in his way were attacked,’ town mayor Marie-Helene Thoraval told AFP….
One was stabbed in the bakery, before the attacker discarded his original knife, and then went into the butchers to pick up another one.
He then continued with his lethal rampage, jumping over a shop counter and sticking the butcher’s knife into a victim’s neck.
The man then ran out into the street and appeared to lash out at random at anyone in his way.
When police arrived he put his hands in the air and then asked to be shot.
‘He shouted at the police to kill him,’ said David Oliver, a spokesman for the Alliance national police union. ‘All the ingredients for a terrorist act are there for us.’