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Fire erupts at another refugee center in Sweden

21 October 2016 18:21

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A building housing refugees in Sweden has been burned in a suspected arson attack, in a second such incident this week.

Two staff members and nine residents were at the center at the time of the incident in the early hours of Friday but no one was hurt, said Stockholm’s police spokesman, Kjell Lindgren.

Lindgren said the refugee center’s staff had alerted police after hearing noises and seeing lights outside the building.

Lindgren said, “Things do not just catch fire outside for no reason,” adding that a police investigation was underway.

This is the second incident of its kind in a week in the Stockholm region.

Another refugee camp was set on fire in southern Stockholm early last Sunday. Thirty seven residents had to be evacuated at that center as a result.

Lindgren said there was no indication that the two fires were linked, or that the risk of attacks against asylum centers had increased. However, police have been keeping a close eye on the country’s asylum centers.

Sweden embraced a record 163,000 asylum seekers last year, which was the largest number among European countries relative to their populations.

However, the open-door policy gradually shifted as negative sentiments began to emerge among locals toward the refugees, prompting the government to impose tough restrictions on new arrivals and in turn resulting in a sharp decline in the number of such entries.

Europe is facing an unprecedented flow of refugees, who are fleeing persecution and violence in conflict zones in North Africa and the Middle East, Syria in particular. Many blame Western countries for their policies, which trigger and compound conflicts, forcing the local populations to leave their home countries.

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