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False kidnapping rumours spark gang attacks on Roma in France

Jean-Philippe Ksiazek / AFP | A member of the Roma community gives food to a child on September 6, 2018 in Saint-Genis-les-Ollieres, near Lyon, France.

Prosecutors in a Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis say police are questioning suspects after gangs of men went after local Roma people based on false rumors that members of the minority group were kidnapping children.

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The prosecutor's office in Seine-Saint-Denis said in a statement Tuesday that it was questioning 19 suspects, two of them minors, for potential charges of violence, destruction by fire and taking part in armed groups during the Monday night attacks.

The statement said there had been no recent complaints filed about abducted children but reports of "suspect behavior" were being investigated.

French news channel BFMTV reported that gangs attacked groups of Roma in several towns after kidnapping rumors spread on social media.

The Paris police chief posted a tweet in red letters reading "Fake News."

(AP)

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