AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after refugees as young as 12 YEARS OLD were arrested in connection with sexual assaults against women on a train.
At least three young victims have come forward so far about attacks on a train from Brussels to Tournai, Belgian police confirmed.
The alarm was raised by a woman who reported sexual assault to the police after her screams were heard by fellow passengers.
The victim was sitting alone on the Belgian train when three boys surrounded her and “threw themselves” at her before groping her on January 10.
A victim statement from the 22-year-old woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, obtained by local media said: “They threw themselves at her. She was in a state of shock.
“Her cries were heard by other passengers. Passengers alerted train staff and the police arrived to catch them.”
The three suspects, aged 12 and 13, were arrested by police at Tournai station, southwest of Brussels, but were soon let go after being interviewed, when police decided to not pursue the case.
A source close to the investigation said it was initially dropped because officers “did not want to make a big deal of it”.
But the case was later re-opened after two new victims came forward to report being sexually assaulted in the same train.
The trio of Syrian males were all registered in France, reported Belgian media.
Officers have said it is unclear whether all the alleged assaults were committed by same or a different group.
The interim public prosecutor for Tournai, Frédéric Bariseau, said:
“These assaults were not necessarily committed by the same trio of culprits.
“We are going to recall them to hear the new facts that have been brought to our attention.”
The alleged sexual assaults come after over 500 complaints were filed after attacks against women on New Year’s Eve in Cologne.
Tensions have been running high in Europe after German police were accused of a cover-up after hundreds of women reported sexual assaults, robbery and even rape by men of “Arab and northern African origin” in Cologne on New Year’s Eve.
Similar incidents have been reported across Germany, as well as Finland, Austria and Switzerland, Austria and Switzerland.