French police have arrested an Afghan national following the brutal murder of a prominent activist in northern France who helped migrants. The 63-year-old was bludgeoned to death.
The attacker reportedly entered the home of the victim, Jean Dussine, in Bretteville-en-Saire near the port city of Cherbourg, where he was repeatedly hit with a blunt object to the point of death on May 12, 2020, according to French prosecutors. Local newspapers reported that Dussine was murdered in his sleep.
Cherbourg prosecutor Yves Le Clair told the Agence France-Presse news agency (AFP) that the 20-year-old attacker had likely come to Dussine's house with the intention of killing him. Le Clair said that the suspect had confessed to killing the retired teacher but "has given no information on what motivated his actions or on his relationship to the victim."
Jean Dussine headed the local migrants assistance organization "Itinerance" in Cherbourg for four years and had also been hosting migrants at his personal home. The suspect was, in fact, chased down and caught by six migrants who were living at Dussine's home. They reported to the police that the attacker himself had not been living at Dussine’s residence.
Hero in the local community
The local municipality tweeted the Dussine was a “warm, benevolent and responsible man, entirely devoted to the cause of men and women he so relentlessly took care of.”
Décès de Jean Dussine : @ArriveBenoit lui rend hommage au nom de la Ville de @CherbourgEnCot pic.twitter.com/tbDYcvTaAa— CherbourgEnCotentin (@CherbourgEnCot) May 12, 2020
Itinerance itself said on Facebook: “We learned with shock and great pain, the death in dramatic circumstances of Jean Dussine, President of the association. He was killed this Tuesday, May 12th in the morning by a person who broke into his home.”
“This is a huge loss for the association and for the cause he was defending.”
Northern France in recent years has become a hub for migrants and refugees, many of whom sleep rough in the coastal towns like Calais, Dunkirk and Cherbourg for months and even years in hopes of migrating to the United Kingdom.
Oftentimes they try to reach the British coast as clandestine passengers in the cargo of lorries travelling across the English Channel, though more recently there has been an increase of boat journeys in dinghies and other small vessels that aren’t seaworthy.