A teenage asylum seeker has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a woman working at the refugee centre he lived in was stabbed to death, Swedish media has reported.
The young man who has not been named was taken into custody after 22-year-old Alexandra Mezher died after the attack on Monday morning. Swedish news agency TT said he was 15 years old.
Ms Mezher was stabbed at the centre for refugee children aged between 14 and 17 who are without any adult guardians in Molndal near Gothenburg onSweden’s west coast.
The refugee centre employee later died of her injuries after she was taken to Sahlgrenska Hospital. The motive was not immediately clear.
Police said on Tuesday that two of the 11 residents at the home had managed to overpower the youth by the time police arrived.
“It says in the police report on the event that two guys held him down. That’s an extremely good intervention,” police spokesman Peter Adlersson told Expressen newspaper. “If he had been planning to injure more people, they prevented it. It’s very easy to get wounded oneself if one intervenes in this way. We are extremely grateful for those who did this.”
Swedish media reported that Ms Mezher’s family was originally from Lebanon and her cousin described her as a person who wanted to be good and do good.
She said she was an angel, adding: “It is so terrible. She was a person who wanted to do good, who wanted to be good.
“And then he murdered her when she was doing her job. We have cried a lot. She was such a nice person, warm and happy.
Police spokesman Thomas Fuxborg warned of the increase in similar incidents on Monday as it was reported Stefan Lofven, the prime minister, would head to the city.
“These kinds of calls are becoming more and more common. We’re dealing with more incidents like these since the arrival of so many more refugees from abroad,” said Fuxborg as Sweden struggles with a record influx of migrants and asylum seekers.
The attack came as national police commissioner Dan Eliasson requested 4,100 additional officers and support staff to help fight against terrorism,carry out migrant deportations and police asylum facilities.
“We are forced to respond to many disturbances in asylum reception centres. In some places, this takes significant police resources. This was not the case six months ago and it means that we won’t be able to respond as effectively in other areas,” Mr Eliasson told TT.
According to the Swedish Migration Agency, the number of threats and violent incidents at asylum facilities more than doubled from 2014 to 2015 as Sweden witnessed a record number of migrant arrivals.
In 2014, there were 148 incidents and in 2015 that number jumped to 322.
But arson attacks targeting asylum shelters have also surged, with at least two dozen centres reduced to ashes or damaged by fire last year.
Also weighing on police resources are border controls introduced on January 4 and a higher national terrorist threat level after the Paris attacks in November.
“Many of the problems we are now facing help to prove the point that Swedish police have long been underfunded and under-staffed,” police union director Lena Nitz, told TT.
“It is obvious that the migrant situation is a great strain. It has become clear that the situation is completely unsustainable.”
The police request for more resources comes greater attention is being focused on allegations of violence by young migrants across Europe, with some countries expressing doubt about their ability to integrate them into society.
Like the rest of Europe, Sweden has been struggling with the continent’s biggest migration crisis since the Second World War.
A country of 9.8 million, Sweden took in more than 160,000 asylum seekers in 2015, putting it among the EU states with the highest proportion of refugees per capita.
It has since tightened its asylum rules to curb the migrant flow.