Fears of vigilantism after rape of young girl
Somalian teen arrested for rape of 10-year-old girl after week of fear of reprisals against small town’s immigrant community The rape of a ten-year-old has shocked the residents of a small town in Jutland, and led to fears residents would seek revenge against the suspect – a 16-year-old boy of Somalian descent.
A week ago last Saturday two girls were threatened at knife-point by a boy and led into a forest. While the nine-year-old girl managed to escape and sound the alarm, the ten-year-old was raped.
It took over a week for the police to make an arrest, and in the meantime the description of the culprit – an 'African-looking' male between the ages of 16 and 18 and with black curly hair – was circulated.
Some 40 percent of the town’s residents are immigrants and several boys and young men fit the description given by the girls. While the police began collecting evidence, rumours started circulating that groups of residents were looking to take matters into their own hands and young immigrant men were warned to stay indoors.
To help calm nerves, a meeting was held the following Tuesday in which a family member of one of the two girls urged residents to let the police do their job in apprehending the culprit.
One of those in attendance was Kaj Mortensen, the manager of a local housing association, who told the press that fears of a vigilante mob forming were overblown, though it was worth reminding residents of the consequences of vigilantism.
"It’s something we want to avoid, it’s the police who have to handle these things. We shouldn’t do anything ourselves,” Mortensen said. "Broadly speaking we discussed the need to talk to each other, regardless of which ethnicity you might have.” (...)