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Denver police arrest three teens for death of Senegalese immigrants

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Three teenage boys were arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of murder and arson stemming from a house fire last year that killed a family of five Senegalese immigrants, including two small children, police said.

Three people inside the house escaped the flames by leaping from an upstairs window, the police added.

Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said the three juveniles were being held for investigation on nearly two dozen charges, including five counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder and eight counts of first-degree arson.

Pazen declined to name the suspects- a 16-year-old boy and two other boys 15 years of age, because they are minors and have not been formally charged. All three were taken into custody in neighbouring Jefferson County.

The August 5 2020 fire deaths shook members of Denver’s ethnic Senegalese community who feared the family whose house was burnt may have been targeted because they were Muslim immigrants from the West African nation.

The case garnered widespread media attention and police earlier released surveillance photos of three masked individuals wearing hooded sweatshirts who investigators believed set the home ablaze.

The deadly blaze erupted in the early morning hours in the city’s Green Valley Ranch neighbourhood, killing Djibril and Adja Diol and the couple’s 2-year-old daughter, Khadija. The blaze also claimed the lives of the husband’s sister, Hassan Diol and her infant daughter, Hawa Baye.

 

Olajumoke Adeleke

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