Teenagers deny role in French bus burning attack

1st November 2006, Comments 0 comments

MARSEILLE, France, Nov 1, 2006 (AFP) - Five French teenagers arrested over an arson attack that has left a young woman critically burned have denied any role in the firebombing, a source close to the inquiry said Wednesday.

MARSEILLE, France, Nov 1, 2006 (AFP) - Five French teenagers arrested over an arson attack that has left a young woman critically burned have denied any role in the firebombing, a source close to the inquiry said Wednesday.

"For the time being, they deny the facts," said the source, who added that their clothes were being analysed along with security camera footage for proof of their involvement in the weekend attack in the southern city of Marseille.

The youths, one aged 15 and four aged 17, were being held in police custody in Marseille following their arrest in a dawn raid Tuesday with a decision expected later in the day on whether they should be formally indicted.

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy was due in Marseille late Wednesday to meet the family of the victim, a 26-year-old university student of Senegalese origin who suffered burns to 60 percent of her body in the attack.

The young woman, mama Gelledou, was unable to get out in time after youths doused the bus with petrol and set it alight. She is in a Marseille burns clinic in an induced coma with doctors unsure that she will survive.

The attack was the worst incident in a wave of violence which flared up in some suburbs around France last week, coinciding with the first anniversary of the 2005 riots in mainly-immigrant suburbs around the country.

Nine buses were targeted by hooded or masked youths hurling firebombs last week, though the Marseille attack was the only one in which someone was seriously hurt.

At least four more buses were targeted by stone-throwing youths in separate incidents in the western Paris suburbs of Paris overnight Tuesday. In one case, in Guyancourt, they hurled a Molotov cocktail which failed to go off.

Six people were also arrested for setting fire to cars in the Essonne department south of the capital.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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