Dozens of reports of sexual assault perpetrated by Arab and North African men on New Year’s Eve have shocked officials in Cologne, Germany.
According to Spiegel Online, dozens of women reported being sexually assaulted by individuals belonging to a group of 1,000 young men gathered in a square near Cologne’s main train station on New Year’s Eve. The men were largely of Arab or North African descent, Cologne Police Chief Wolfgang Albers said, according to BBC.
At least one women reported being raped. There were nearly 100 complaints filed about incidents last Thursday, about a quarter of them related to sexual assault and many other related to thefts.
Albers said that the incidents last week in Cologne constituted “a completely new dimension of crime.” Mayor Henriette Reker called the alleged crimes “monstrous.”
“We cannot allow this to become a lawless area,” Reker said.
The perpetrators of the assaults and thefts last week appeared to range from ages 15 to 35. Investigators have zeroed in on a group of men from North Africa who have been behind small thefts in Cologne recently.
Germany received a record number of migrants last year, which has resulted in fierce debate surrounding the country’s acceptance of migrants and refugees.