08 January 2016

Germany confirms most mob attack suspects were asylum seekers

Germany said Friday most suspects in the mob violence that marred Cologne's New Year's Eve celebrations were asylum seekers, fuelling calls to quickly deport criminal migrants.

Unsettled by a record refugee influx, Germany has reacted with shock to news that women had to run a frightful gauntlet of groping, insults and robberies in an aggressive and drunken crush of around 1,000 men.

A week after the chaotic scenes outside Cologne railway station, federal police said they had identified 31 suspects whose alleged offences were "mostly theft and causing bodily harm".

Eighteen of them are asylum seekers, the interior ministry said.

Among the suspects are nine Algerians, eight Moroccans, five Iranians, four Syrians, two Germans and one citizen each from Iraq, Serbia and the United States, ministry spokesman Tobias Plate said.

Federal police had received several complaints about sexual offences, but "the perpetrators of these have not been identified," he said at a press conference. [AFP] Read more