Two Danish nationals were wounded Saturday in a knife attack in Gabon’s capital apparently committed in retribution for “US attacks against Muslims,” a minister said.
The two men, who were working for the National Geographic channel, were stabbed while shopping in a market popular with tourists, said defense minister Etienne Massard, adding that the attack appeared to be politically motivated.
“According to the first testimonies at the scene, the assailant, a 53-year-old Nigerien man, shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (“God is Greatest”) during the attack. He was arrested on the spot,” said Massard.
The man, who has lived in Gabon for 19 years, “in his first statements said he acted in retaliation for US attacks against Muslims and America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”
The two victims were sent to a hospital in the capital Libreville, one in a serious condition, government spokesman Alain-Claude Bilie By Nze told AFP.
The Danish foreign ministry confirmed two nationals had been “wounded in Gabon” without giving any further details.
Massard said the government was treating the attack as “an isolated act” and said an investigation had been launched.
“Following this cowardly and despicable act, the government wishes to assure the people that Gabon will not become a theatre for attacks against our way of life,” he said in a televised address.
“Everything will be done to ensure that the perpetrator and any accomplices are punished to the full extent of the law.”
Gabon, a small French-speaking former colony with 1.8 million inhabitants, has so far been spared the Islamist-inspired attacks that have taken place in some neighboring countries.
US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has been met with widespread anger in the Muslim world, including protests outside US embassies, anti-Israel marches and strident denunciations by political leaders. The Hamas terror group called for a new Palestinian uprising, and there have been a rash of low-level clashes with Israeli troops in Gaza and the West Bank.
In his address from the White House, Trump said that after repeated failures to achieve peace, a new approach was long overdue. He described his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality.
Trump, whose declaration was hailed by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum, stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city’s holy sites.