2 Danish journalists violently attacked in Gabon

December 17, 2017 GMT

LIBREVILLE, Gabon (AP) — A man stabbed two Danish journalists in Gabon’s capital, declaring it was in retaliation for U.S. attacks against Muslims and leaving one reporter in serious condition, Gabon’s defense minister said.

The attack Saturday occurred while the journalists were shopping at an artisanal market, a site popular with tourists. It is the first of its kind in this West African country where Muslims and Christians coexist peacefully.

The stabbing was carried out in Libreville by a 53-year-old Niger national who screamed “Allah Akbar,” said Gabonese Minister of Defense Etienne Massard Makaga. The attacker, who has lived in Gabon for 19 years, was immediately arrested.

When questioned by the police, he said he acted “in retaliation for the attacks of the United States against the Muslims and the American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” said Makaga.

“Everything will be done to ensure that the author and his possible accomplices are punished with the utmost rigor that the law allows,” said the minister who denounced “an act abominable, cowardly and ignoble.” Makaga said such acts are contrary to the Gabonese way of living together and “detrimental to social peace.”

The journalists, one male and one female reportedly working for National Geographic, were rushed to a hospital.

The man was operated on and is currently in intensive care, said government spokesman Alain Claude Bilie By Nze.

Oil-rich Gabon is known for its wildlife, including most of Africa’s remaining forest elephants, which are being heavily targeted by traffickers.

Gabon is ruled by President Ali Bongo Ondimba, whose family has been in power for nearly half a century.