Three arrested over Oxford Street murder

Detectives investigating the fatal stabbing of teenager Seydou Diarrassouba on London‘s Oxford Street arrested three youths on Saturday on suspicion of murder.

Two boys aged 16 and a 20-year-old man are being held for questioning at separate London police stations, Scotland Yard said.

Diarrassouba was stabbed to death following a fight at a sportswear store on Britain’s busiest shopping street on Boxing Day.

Eleven people have already been arrested in connection with the killing and bailed pending further inquiries.

The latest arrests come after police raided the London homes of about 20 suspected gang members on Friday in an effort to calm mounting tensions over the killing.

Fearing further attacks, Metropolitan Police officers on Friday made a series of arrests at addresses in the boroughs of Merton, Wandsworth, Southwark and Westminster, believed to be associated with gangs which may have been involved in the incident.

Commander Mak Chishty said: “We were aware of rising tensions in the wake of the murder and having monitored the situation closely, including various comments that have been made on social networking sites, we felt it vital we take robust and prompt action in order to pre-empt any potential future violence.

“This is just one of a series of measures we are carrying out in order to enhance the safety of the public and visitors to London, especially with New Year’s Eve pending.”

Officers arrested 17 people in connection with a range of offences including GBH, robbery, affray, intent to supply drugs, burglary, forgery and handling stolen goods. The suspects remain in custody at various London police stations.

Further raids targeting suspected gang members will continue throughout the weekend and into 2012, a Metropolitan Police spokesman said.

Diarrassouba died of a single knife wound to the heart in the incident on December 26.

The killing happened after a fight broke out between two groups of youths at the Foot Locker store, as thousands of shoppers flooded Oxford Street for the sales.

A second man aged 21 was injured in the leg in another stabbing a few hundred metres away less than six hours later.

Diarrassouba’s family have paid tribute to a “loving, down to earth, respectful and charismatic young man” who “had so much consideration for others”.

Appealing for witnesses, a statement released by Scotland Yard on behalf of the family said: “Our loving son and brother has been snatched away from us.

“A simple shopping trip has turned into a complete nightmare for our whole family.

“We are urging anyone who was in Oxford Street at the time of the incident to come forward with any evidence, no matter how little relevance they think it could have, to help the police with their ongoing investigation.”

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