I really don't get what you're trying to say, fact is that even the Cologne officials have said that the group of attackers were made of Arab North African origin, even Merkel has said it ... and you, some guy from Australia you're trying to say that "no, it's not true" ?
What I'm saying is that everyone's working off exactly the same information - a "claim". It's still a rumour at this point in time, as they have not identified any of the perpetrators, have not provided anything more than hearsay to justify the claim that they were "arab or north african appearance", and most notably "arab" and "north african" appearances are actually quite different from each other.
Do you want to know how easy it is for things to get twisted? It only takes ONE perpetrator having relatively dark skin (even Greek or Italian would be sufficient - heck, just a tan would be sufficient), and the victim interpreting the perpetrator as arab, and then when other victims hear about it, having not gotten a good enough look at the perpetrator, they fill in the gaps with the information they've heard, and suddenly they're "remembering" an arab.
It's called the Misinformation Effect.
There are other, similar effects that can also influence it. And we haven't even touched the possibility of things like mass delusion (note: I'm not asserting the assault didn't happen, I'm asserting a delusion about the perpetrators).
But I do like how you invoke my nationality, as though that somehow invalidates my understanding of the media, the trustworthiness of information, and my right to comment.
Note that nowhere did I say that the stories are false. What I said was that we can't take this information as absolute fact just because a lot of media ran with it.
Also, when did Merkel say anything about their appearance? The only thing I can find her saying is that the perpetrators have to be punished as quickly as possible without regard to origin or appearance.