Screenshot of video footage showing fire at migrant camp on Samos on April 26, 2020 | Source: Twitter/MSF_Sea
Screenshot of video footage showing fire at migrant camp on Samos on April 26, 2020 | Source: Twitter/MSF_Sea

A day after a fire broke out near a migrant camp on Samos that houses some 4,600 people, 13 migrants were detained on the island. Also on Wednesday, police arrested six people in connection with the Moria fires from last week. Lockdowns remain in place on at least two of the five Greek Aegean islands.

13 people have been detained on the Greek Aegean island of Samos after a fire broke out next to the local migrant camp, police said Wednesday (September 16).

Most suspects were later released but three remain under questioning, news agency AFP reported citing a local police source. The officer declined to identify the nationalities of the suspects, according to AFP.

The fire reportedly broke out in a forested area near the Vathy migrant camp late on Tuesday (September 15). However, firefighters were able to bring it under control.

According to Greek publication Kathimerini, more than 4,600 people live in the camp, more than seven times its capacity of 648.

On the same day as the detentions on Samos, Greek police arrested six people in connection with the fires that razed the Moria migrant camp on Lesbos Island last week. The suspects are reportedly Afghan nationals whose asylum applications were rejected. 

The series of blazes on September 8 and 9 destroyed large parts of Moria, until then Europe's largest migrant camp. The fires left more than 12,000 asylum seekers homeless.

Coronavirus lockdowns

On Tuesday (September 15), Kathimerini 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 COVID-19 cases, a migration ministry source in Athens said on Wednesday that lockdown restrictions remain in place for migrants camps on Samos and Leros until September 29.

The official also said, however, that the restrictions had been removed for the camps on two other Aegean islands -- Chios and Kos -- for the first time in months. It's unclear whether the new tent camp at Kara Tepe on Lesbos will be under lockdown like Moria was until the fire.

Tuesday's fire on Samos wasn't the first at a migrant camp on the island this year: Back in April, scores of asylum seekers were left homeless when two fires tore through a migrant camp on the island.

A day later, the Greek government announced that it intended to close the camp on Samos by the end of the year.

With AFP

 

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