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France

Sudanese asylum seeker who killed French official had no terrorist motives - prosecutor

PARIS (Reuters) - A Sudanese asylum seeker who fatally stabbed an employee at a migrant reception centre in the southern French city of Pau on Friday had no terrorist motives, the Pau prosecutor said on Saturday.

Prosecutor Cecile Gensac said that the assailant was not on a national list of terrorism suspects. Following Friday’s attack he was detained by staff at the asylum centre.

“Two employees of the centre intervened, with a lot of courage. They held him by the arms and locked him in an office. He put up no resistance,” she told a news conference.

She said the 38-year-old assailant had arrived in France in 2015 and had spent some time at the immigration centre.

Following two convictions and jail time for acts of violence in 2017-2019, he had lost the right to apply for asylum and was set to be deported to his home country, but he had not responded to a request to report to immigration authorities, she said.

She added that he had come to the centre several times in recent days to try and get documents that might extend his stay in France and that he held a grudge against staff at the centre.

The victim was the head of the asylum service at the centre, who died there an hour after being stabbed repeatedly in the throat, the prosecutor said.

The attack led to new calls from the far-right for a tougher stance on immigration.

“After all we have suffered, why was a Sudanese migrant still on our territory after he had been condemned and imprisoned for what seemed to be armed violence,” far-right Rassemblement National vice president Johan Bardella wrote on his Twitter feed.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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