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September 17, 2020

Afghans face Greek prosecutor over fire at migrant camp

National

 
September 17, 2020

LESBOS ISLAND, Greece: Six young Afghan men including two minors will face a prosecutor on Greece´s Lesbos Island Wednesday on suspicion of setting fires that destroyed Europe´s largest migrant camp last week.

The suspects, aged 20 and below, are to be arraigned after midday, local officials said. Two of them, aged 17, had initially been taken off the island in a mass operation to put unaccompanied minors out of harm´s way, state agency ANA reported. Greek officials had insisted from the start that the fires that destroyed the Moria camp, leaving over 12,000 people homeless, were the result of arson.

Earlier Wednesday, 13 migrants were detained on the island of Samos after a fire broke out near the local camp that houses over 4,700 people. Most were later released but three remain under questioning, a local police source said.

On Lesbos, crews this week hastily put together another tent camp which according to EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson will eventually accommodate up to 9,000 people.

On Wednesday, the Greek migration ministry said roughly 1,200 of the 12,000 Moria migrants had been housed at the site. "We expect 2,000 will enter by tonight," a migration ministry source said. Among them, 35 have tested positive for coronavirus.

But thousands have been sleeping on the street for the past week, with limited access to food and no sanitation for families including elderly and newborns.

"This is the 21st century! Supermarkets are closed, there are no toilets...we are not animals!" raged Ange, a 23-year-old asylum seeker from DR Congo who was a mechanical engineer in his homeland. A migration ministry source in Athens on Wednesday said coronavirus lockdown restrictions had been removed for the camps of Chios and Kos for the first time in months.