Just two months after a Filipino tourist with a German passport was killed in a knife attack near the Eiffel Tower, Paris has been struck by yet another bloody, and manifestly politically-motivated, knife attack in a high-profile location: this time, the bustling Gare de Lyon train station. Last Saturday morning, Sagou Gouno Kassogue, a Malian refugee resident in Italy, began attacking travellers in the station seemingly at random, hitting a 66-year-old man in the head with a hammer and stabbing him in the abdomen.
The 66-year-old, who has been identified only as “Claude”, remains in critical condition as of this writing, and two other people were, per the delicate expression used by France’s AFP wire service and adopted by the Daily Mail here, “slightly wounded”. Here are some pictures of the “slight” wounds to the neck and the hands suffered by one of them. The victim, who has been identified only as “Christophe”, was one of several travellers who intervened to immobilise the assailant.
In the report on France’s BFM news television from which the images are taken, Christophe describes pinning Kassogue to the ground after another traveller had tackled him and becoming dimly aware that the assailant’s knife was in his neck. He suffered the wounds to his hands when trying to pull the assailant’s hand back, a reflex which undoubtedly saved his life.
The weapons used in the attack can be seen in the below photo (source: Sûreté RATP). It is worth noting that Armand Rajabpour-Miyandoab, the perpetrator of the December attack near the Eiffel Tower, also came armed with a knife and a hammer, first stabbing the Filipino-German tourist, Collin Christian Bröter, and then assaulting a British tourist with the hammer when trying to make his getaway.
As has become the custom in France, French authorities have refused to qualify the Gare de Lyon attack as a terror attack, insisting instead on Kassogue’s alleged psychiatric problems. Following his arrest, Kassogue was even briefly removed from policy custody and transferred to a psychiatric ward before being returned to jail again.
French authorities have likewise insisted that there is no evidence of any religious motive for the attack: this despite the existence of the below TikTok video from December, which suggests that Kassogue was already planning his attack at the time and expected or hoped to die when committing it. The caption reads: “R.I.P. in three months. May Allah accept me in his paradise.” It is not only the reference to Allah which is significant here. The suicide attack is of course the preferred MO of Islamic terrorism.
As reported by the daily Le Parisen, investigators have also acknowledged finding “Salafist” content on Kassogue’s TikTok channel. Salafism is the radical current of Sunni Islam which has given rise to Al-Qaeda and kindred Islamic terror groups.
Evidence has emerged that Italian authorities likewise treated Kassogue as a psychiatric case and even indeed granted him asylum in part due to alleged psychological trauma caused by the violent conditions in his native country. It is worth noting, however, that his since deleted TikTok account (see below) had some 44,000 followers – without, moreover, him following anyone! So, 44,000 people evidently did not find him so crazy.
Kassogue’s native Mali has been in the throes of an Islamist insurgency for over a decade and French troops were present in the country from 2013 to 2022. In videos on his TikTok channel, Kassogue accused France of pillaging his country and the entire African continent “from A to Z” and made no secret of his hatred for France and the French: “all French people”, as he puts it in the video available here.
In light of these statements, French authorities have in the meanwhile recognised a “racist” motive for Kassogue’s attack, but continue to refuse to qualify it as terrorism despite the obvious political motivation.