An 18-year-old asylum seeker from Eritrea was in police custody Friday, charged with fatally stabbing a 17-year-old Eritrean girl at an asylum center in Sunndalsøra, in the county of Møre og Romsdal, on Thursday night. Police were questioning witnesses and local officials were setting up a crisis team, also to help shocked local residents.
“There’s always a danger that folks will get scared when such things happen,” local mayor Ståle Refstie of the Labour Party told state broadcaster NRK.
Both the victim and her assailant had been residing at the center, which houses more than 300 refugees in the small fjordside town that’s the local center for the mountainous municipality of Sunndal, southeast of Kristiansund. News bureau NTB reported that the asylum center has accommodation for 260 refugees plus a wing that opened in January to house 70 young asylum seekers who arrived in Norway alone.
Refstie told NRK there had been few problems at the asylum center, which the township has operated for 17 years. “Many of those here have arrived with lots of problems, but the tone between the asylum seekers and local residents has been good,” he claimed. “This is a tragic situation for those who live and work at the center, and for our immigration service.”
Police said the 18-year-old Eritrean charged in the case arrived in Norway about a year ago and was not part of the recent influx of refugees into Norway that began this past summer. His 17-year-old victim arrived less than a year ago.
Police said they couldn’t say whether there was any relation between the two or what motivated the attack.