The Swedish Ikea stabbing suspects are asylum seekers from Eritrea

Police at the store outside Stockholm.
Police at the store outside Stockholm.
Image: Reuters/Peter Kruger/TT News Agency
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Swedish police say the two men suspected of fatally stabbing two people yesterday (Aug.10) at an Ikea store near Stockholm are immigrant asylum seekers from Eritrea. The men, who live in a facility for asylum seekers in a nearby town, are being held in custody. One of them sustained critical stab wounds and underwent two surgeries. It is unclear how he was injured, and many crucial details of the incident, including motive, are still unknown.

The people killed in the stabbings were a 55-year-old mother and her 28-year-old son, with no apparent connection to the suspects. Swedish authorities said there were “no political overtones” in the assault—an apparent attempt to rule out any intent of terrorism.

Police sources told the local daily VLT that the suspects seemed to have used knives from the Ikea shelves for the attack, and the Ikea outlet in question has temporarily stopped selling knives, the store manager told news agency TT.

The lawyer of the uninjured suspect, a 23-year-old man, told TT that he was innocent as was “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“He has been there [Ikea] but he didn’t do anything,” said attorney Maria Wilhelmsson.

Sweden accepts large numbers of asylum seekers, with Eritreans the second-largest group of applicants behind refugees from Syria. Swedish media have speculated that the two suspects could have suffered from mental illness or psychological trauma stemming from their experiences in the war-torn country.