French police have arrested three people after an African migrant drug dealer was beaten to death in broad daylight by a gang of teenagers in southern France.
Before horrified onlookers in the town of Pau, the man was brutally kicked, punched, and beaten with a plastic chair leg and a piece of wood by a group of up to 12 teenagers, local media reported.
The victim, 32, had a history of violent criminality and drug dealing, and his attackers were described as teenagers aged between 12 and 17.
The French press has dubbed it a “terrifying lynching”.
Cecile Gensac, a local prosecutor, confirmed Monday three people had been arrested in relation to the murder. The victim was revealed as a French national born in Burkina Faso, West Africa, who had recently moved from Paris.
“The man died Friday in the street in an area of Pau after a group attacked him,” she told AFP.
The Saragosse housing estate, where the attack happened, is known for its high levels of crime and is typical of many deprived, high-immigration urban areas of France. Gérard Collomb, France’s Minister of the Interior, promised more police in the area following the murder.
#Pau : tout est mis en oeuvre pour identifier et interpeller toutes les personnes impliquées.
➡️ Le quartier de Saragosse disposera de 10 policiers supplémentaires en septembre : il avait été fléché dès le lancement de la #PoliceSécuritéQuotidien.
— Gérard Collomb (@gerardcollomb) May 21, 2018
The killing committed by such young people in a grassy public area shocked locals and was widely reported on Monday, with Le Parisien newspaper calling it a “terrifying lynching”.
“They’re very young: 12, 13, 14 years old. It’s a gang around here that smokes weed, that causes problems,” one local told La Republique des Pyrenees newspaper.
Newspaper Sud Ouest quoted a young mother who witnessed the murder as saying: “There were 12 on him, then he fell to the ground. Four of them carried on beating him and there was one who finished him off.”
Another witness, who was picnicking on the grass with children when the attack started, said: “I’m still in shock – I cannot believe what I saw.”
She added: “There was a dozen on him, beating him. It was unbelievable. There was nothing we could do other than alert the emergency services.”