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13 detained after fire near Greek migrant camp in Samos


A day after a fire broke out near a migrant camp in Samos, which is home to some 4,600 people, 13 migrants were arrested on the island. Also on Wednesday, police arrested six people in connection with the Moria fires last week.The suspects are said to be Afghan nationals whose asylum claims have been rejected. Lockdowns remain in place on at least two of the five Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.13 people have been arrested on the Greek island of Samos in the Aegean Sea after a fire broke out near the local migrant camp, police said on Wednesday (September 16th).

Most of the suspects were subsequently released, but three are still being questioned, AFP news agency reported citing a local police source. The officer refused to identify the nationality of the suspects, according to AFP.The fire reportedly broke out in a forested area near the Vathy migrant camp on Tuesday evening (September 15). However, the firefighters were able to bring it under control.
According to the Greek publication Kathimerini, more than 4,600 people live in the camp, more than seven times its capacity of 648.The series of fires of September 8 and 9 destroyed large parts of Moria, until then the largest migrant camp in Europe. The fires have left more than 12,000 asylum seekers homeless.

Coronavirus lockdowns

On Tuesday, September 15, sources reported that three residents of the Samos camp had contracted the coronavirus. The migrants went to a local hospital “after showing symptoms”.Following the three positive cases of COVID-19, a source from the Athens Migration Ministry said on Wednesday that lockdown restrictions remained in place for the migrant camps in Samos and Leros until September 29.

The official also said, however, that restrictions were lifted for camps on two other Aegean islands – Chios and Kos – for the first time in months. It is not known whether Kara Tepe’s new tent camp in Lesbos will be locked down like Moria until the fire.Tuesday’s fire in Samos was not the first at a migrant camp on the island this year: in April, dozens of asylum seekers were left homeless when two fires ravaged a migrant camp on the island. A day later, the Greek government announced its intention to close the Samos camp by the end of the year.

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