Denmark: Somalis in small town feel persecuted after rape of 10-year-old

Denmark: Somalis in small town feel persecuted after rape of 10-year-old

Via Politiken (Danish):

Somalis in Gullestrup feel persecuted following the rape of a 10 year old.

A 10-year-old girl was raped Saturday evening in a wooded area in the town of Gullestrup, north of Herning. She had been playing with a 9-year-old friend in a playground by the kindergarten when a man threatened them to go with him into the woods. The 9-year-old friend escaped and ran to get help, but the rapist disappeared before the girl's parents and police showed up. The girl described the rapist as African, 16-18 years old, with short, curly hair.

The police are asking anybody who might have even insignificant details on the case, to contact the police.

Three days after the rape, there is insecurity, suspicions, accusation and concern among the 2,000 adults, youth and children who live in Gullestrup.

Many non-Danes, and Somalis in particular, feel they're under suspicion.

Poul Erik Lyngsø, chairman of the local council: Naturally there's insecurity and a feeling of being suspected among the residents of Somali background, since now everybody think that they're the ones who did it, because they have dark skin." He says they keep indoors out of fear of unrest.

Ekstra Bladet reported about a 'lynch atmosphere' and of groups of 25-30 armed residents who are looking for the rapist, which according to a local shopkeeper should be castrated, while others think he should pay with his life.

An 18 year old Somali told the paper that people from the area suspect one of his friends, who is not a police suspect.

It was impossible to contact the Somali association in Herning.

But police, the local residents association and the local council say the rumors of revenge-thirsty residents are exaggerated and they warn the media and residents against inciting unnecessary conflicts.

Michael Kjeldgaard of the central Denmark police says that he's heard the rumors, but can't reconcile it with what he sees. It's obvious there will be a bad atmosphere after such a serious crime takes place in a small community, but he doesn't see armed hordes out to get revenge.

Police and social workers were on the streets Monday to speak with people in an attempt to keep tempers calm.

Poul Erik Lyngsø of the local council had called key people in the community. He told them that obviously there will be sparks between certain groups, and joggers would stay home rather than run in the woods, but otherwise it's quiet and peaceful. We've calmed things down so the police can work in peace.