Norway: Attack at asylum center

A group of 40-50 Chechen men broke into the Nordbybråten asylum transit center in Våler, Østfold, Norway Thursday night.  Equipped with bats, steel bars and knives, the men arrived in cars, climbed over the fences and broke in through locked doors and gates.  The men went room by room and hunted down Kurds and Arabs, men, women and children.

23 people were wounded in the planned and coordinated attack, seven of them seriously, the youngest being 11.  A lot of damage was done to the center, including broken windows, doors and furniture.

The head of the center, Ole Morten Lyng, says that there have been episodes between Kurdish and Chechen people at the center the past few years, at an individual level, and that this was probably a revenge act.  He says that there have never been comparable episodes to this one.

In 2005 the police was called to Nordbybråten several times after a group of Chechen residents wanted to enforce Sharia laws at the center.

One of the center's neighbors says that the police was called in Wednesday night after a fight between two Chechen women and a Kurdish woman.  According to some reports this was a trivial argument which brought about the attack.  The neighbors want the center closed down, which they say is making their lives miserable, but feel that they are not being listened to.

The residents of the asylum center say they are afraid and that they don't feel they get enough protection.

Police had meanwhile arrested five local Chechens aged 25-35.  The perpetrators might be deported from the country.

Source: Aftenposten 1, 2; VG (Norwegian)

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