In a continent that is on a suicidal path due to the welcome it accorded to Muslim refugees and migrants from different countries of Asia and Africa, the man suspected of killing three people at a church in Nice on France’s Côte D’Azur on 29 October has turned out to be a 21-year-old Tunisian who had arrived in Europe a few weeks ago. Sources from the team of investigators said they have identified the suspect as Brahim Aouissaoui. He landed in late September on the Italian island of Lampedusa. Authorities placed him in virus quarantine before releasing him with an order to quit Italian territory.
This killing spree follows the beheading of the teacher, Samuel Paty, who had made the ‘mistake’ of sharing some images of Prophet Mohammed with his students.
Brahim (Tunisian for Ibrahim) Aouissaoui arrived in France in early October, the sources said. French authorities say Aouissaoui had no identity papers on him when police shot and wounded him after the attack. However, he was carrying a document that showed he was from the Italian Red Cross. He did not demand political asylum in France.
Prosecutors in Sicily, Italy, have confirmed that the Tunisian arrived in Lampedusa on 20 September. He spent 14 days on a quarantined boat. The authorities then transferred him to Bari on the mainland on 9 October.
Due to the high number of Tunisian immigrants, repatriation procedures from Italy are often a delayed process. Italian authorities give Tunisians “exit slips”. This requires them to leave Italy within seven days. Aouissaoui had received an order of the type. However, like many, he travelled illegally to France.
Sicilian prosecutors confirmed further that Aouissaoui had no papers with him and said that a picture of him that the French police had released matched the one in their possession.
According to magistrates, the “current and most probable hypothesis” is that the Tunisian migrant travelled to Lampedusa onboard a small vessel. In July this year, Europol and Kosovo Police, the only partner in the Western Balkans without any structured and formalised cooperation with Europol, had concluded a working arrangement. Kosovo activated its contingency plan due to the influx of asylum seekers and irregular migrants.
A UN committee of experts, however, said the arrest of nine Syrians, an Egyptian and a Turkmen in Cyprus in May 2020, all linked to either Isis or Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, showed that potential terrorists could use illegal migration routes to reach Europe.
Matteo Salvini, Italy’s far-right former interior minister, said that if reports of this Tunisian had landed in Lampedusa were confirmed, the current interior minister, Luciana Lamorgese, should resign or be sacked.