Five men have been arrested after a group of migrants set fire to the former military barracks in Kent which had been converted into a camp for asylum seekers in the wake of massive illegal boat migration.
On Saturday, Kent police announced that four men were arrested in connection to the fire at the Napier Barracks. They arrested another man on suspicion of assaulting a security guard at the camp.
The fire was reportedly started after migrants were enraged that they would have to remain in the camp, rather than being transferred to hotels as some were following an outbreak of coronavirus earlier this month.
Detective Chief Superintendent Andrew Pritchard of the Kent Police force said per the BBC: “As part of our work, we are working in close partnership with the Home Office and Kent Fire and Rescue Service to help us establish the full circumstances and identify any individuals involved.
“To help with our investigation I would encourage anyone with information, including video footage, to contact us as soon as possible.”
The Home Office says a number of asylum seekers who remained at Napier Barracks objected to not being moved off site: ‘They became aggressive, turned violent and began to set about destroying the barracks. Asylum seekers smashed windows, an accommodation block was set on fire.’ pic.twitter.com/sUgduiCmMj
— Simon Jones (@SimonJonesNews) January 29, 2021
The arson was condemned by Home Secretary Priti Patel, who said: “The damage and destruction at Napier Barracks is not only appalling but deeply offensive to the taxpayers of this country who are providing this accommodation while asylum claims are being processed.
“This type of action will not be tolerated and the Home Office will support the police to take robust action against those vandalising property, threatening staff, and putting lives at risk.
“This site has previously accommodated our brave soldiers and army personnel – it is an insult to say that it is not good enough for these individuals. I am fixing our broken asylum system, and will be bringing forward legislation this year to deliver on that commitment,” Patel claimed.
A spokeswoman for the Home Office said that despite the fire, there are no plans to move the asylum seekers from the migrant camp to hotel accommodation.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 8, 2020
There have been growing tensions at the camp since the migrants were moved into the former army barracks in September, with asylum seekers — the majority of whom are said to be military-age men — complaining about the conditions in the camp.
Despite being provided with freefood and accommodation at the expense of the British taxpayers, migrants in the camp have openly complained about their situation, with a group of Sudanese illegal migrants declaring they wish they “had stayed in France“.
Protests at the camp initially broke out in November, with migrants attempting to break down the barricades surrounding the facility. More protests were staged earlier this month, despite being prohibited under the coronavirus lockdown measures.
The fire at Folkestone is reminiscent of scenes witnessed at migrant camps on Continental Europe, most notably the notorious Moria camp in Greece.
In September a camp on the Greek island of Lesbos was burnt to the ground after a group of Afghani migrants set it on fire, in hope of being transferred to the Greek mainland if their accommodation was destroyed.
The Moria camp was home to some 13,000 migrants, despite only having a capacity of around 3,000, but the Greek government was forced to house more and more migrants at the camp as continuous waves of migrants streamed into the country.
Last year, a record 8,400 migrants were recorded as having illegally entered the United Kingdom by boat from France — a safe, non-war-torn EU member-state –compared to 1,890 the previous year.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 26, 2020
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