June 18, 2024

The Molenbeek victims of the double murder sheltered the homeless man in their home.

A prominent Belgian artist and his partner were found stabbed to death on Tuesday. The primary suspect is reportedly a 34-year-old homeless migrant they were sheltering at their home in the northern Brussels district of Molenbeek, understood to have been residing in the country illegally for an unknown amount of time.

Paul Buyse, a 63-year-old artist, and his partner and local teacher Muriel Borré died at an address in Avenue Henri Hollevoet in the north of the Belgian capital on Tuesday in what police are describing as a “domestic incident”.

L’artiste Paul Buyse et sa femme assassinés à Molenbeek-Saint-Jean : un suspect placé sous mandat d’arrêt https://t.co/TP8r1JJYiK pic.twitter.com/2drE72tk6O

— DH-Bruxelles (@DHBruxelles) May 16, 2024

The 34-year-old suspect, Mohamed Ritab, is reported to have turned himself in to the police immediately after the gruesome murders Tuesday afternoon.

Public prosecutor Yasmina Vanoverschelde said the exact circumstances of the slayings were unclear. Other sources recall the couple wanting to help Ritab by allowing him to stay at their home as an act of charity.

Already infamous for the prominence of Islamic extremism and petty crime, Molenbeek—the centre of the city’s Moroccan diaspora community—is no stranger to acts of violence. Late last year, a police officer was stabbed to death in a nearby train station.

Brussels is currently experiencing a migrant-led crime wave, forcing even European Union officials to heighten safety protocols for staff. In October, Brussels garnered international headlines following the murder of two Swedish football fans by a Tunisian asylum seeker also in the country illegally. Some municipal councillors now advocate for the deployment of the Belgian military as the next step in combating warring narco gangs.

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