More than 90 women in Germany reported they were either sexually assaulted or robbed outside a train station in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, with similar events taking place in two other major cities.
The news of the mass sexual assaults by “North African groups” of around 1,000 people didn’t break until Monday afternoon when Cologne’s police chief Wolfgang Albers called it a “completely new dimension of crime.” The number of total assaults has since grown from 60 to more than 100, spanning over three cities.
Similar incidents as the ones in Cologne took place in Stuttgart and Hamburg, with two and nine incidents, respectively. All three cities report the same profile of large groups groping women to distract them in order to steal their purses, but police say there are no indications of the events being related.
“There were lots of girls, all crying uncontrollably,” an anonymous victim said of the atmosphere inside the train station in Cologne, according to Deutsche Welle.
A video has surfaced of the immigrants throwing fire crackers around at the scene of the attack.
Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the attacks, but said that refugees should not be judged for the events.
“It’s completely improper… to link a group that appeared to come from North Africa with the refugees,” Merkel said Tuesday.
A police spokesman told DW that “the recent hints go significantly toward police known offenders, refugees have nothing to do with it.”
Police have not made any arrests in relation to the events.
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