Fears of vigilantism after rape of young girl

November 28th, 2011

This article is more than 12 years old.

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 townÂ’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.”

While it seems residents did allow police to conduct their investigation in peace, a right-wing political organisation used the incident to spread their anti-Islamic agenda.

Twenty members of the Danish Defence League (DDL), were spotted in the nearby town of Herning on Thursday night on their way to Gullestrup, where the next day posters could be found declaring the town an ‘Sharia Free Zone’ and signed by the DDL.

The DDL admitted on its Facebook page to hanging the posters and called the act a ‘good effort’.

The group is tied to the British organisation English Defence League, which is made up largely of white males linked to the football hooligan community and who are responsible for violent anti-Islamic rallies across the country.

In a press release, the DDL declared it was prepared to take on the role of the police at times when they felt the Danish people were not being protected

“The Danish Defence League declares that we will take the streets in areas where the number of rapes are rising if the authorities in Denmark are not getting the situation under control. We take this position after the Danish police once again have shown that they either can’t or won’t – or don’t have the resources to – protect the Danish people from Muslim immigrants’ perverted desires.”

A 16-year-old was been arrested late last week after forensic evidence linked him to the crime. The police would not confirm what the evidence was but one report suggests his fingerprint was found on a condom packet lying close to the scene of the crime.

According to information obtained by the tabloid Ekstra Bladet, the 16-year-old had recently returned from a year in Somalia and had reportedly witnessed that countryÂ’s strife at close quarters.

Acquaintances of the suspect described how the experience has affected him.

“He was unrecognisable when he came home. He seemed hard and superficial and spoke very loudly, almost shouting all the time,” one source was quoted in Ekstra Bladet as saying.

The boy appeared in court last Saturday in a close door hearing.

He denies any involvement in the rape. 

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