Crimewave: Afghan Migrant Says UK ‘Just as Bad’ as Homeland After ‘Unknown Substance’ Attack

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C. VILLEMAIN/AFP/Getty Images

After witnessing people being sprayed with an ‘unknown substance’ as part of a suspected acid attack, a fast food worker has questioned why he bothered leaving Afghanistan to be more secure when the UK “is getting just as bad”.

Police and ambulance workers were called to a pizza vendor in Harlow, Essex, on Friday evening following reports that two teenagers had been sprayed in the face with an unknown substance after a verbal confrontation with two men.

While no one was seriously hurt in the attack outside Essex Pizza, the substance affected a number of people who were treated by paramedics at the scene, according to the Essex Chronicle.

A man working at Farmhouse Pizza next door, who wished to remain anonymous, told the newspaper he was physically sick after being one of several bystanders hit with the substance.

“One customer was waiting for pizza and one guy came and pulled his arm around and something came out. We ran and then I was sick,” he said.

“We get a lot of people hanging about just doing nothing. It’s worrying because it’s where I’ve lived for eight years and I moved here from Afghanistan.

“I moved because I was fighting for my life everyday and now this is happening here and it makes you think why am I here? It’s getting just as bad.”

Atek Sank, who was working at Essex Pizza on Friday night, described the scene at the time of the attack as “really busy” and recalled that there had been children around.

“Within seconds, it happened and people came in coughing and then we started too so we let people in and called the police as soon as possible,” he said.

Situated on the border with Hertfordshire, Harlow lies 20 miles northeast of London, where police have been struggling to deal with the growing level of violent crime which has catapulted the British capital ahead of notorious New York in dangerous city rankings.

Earlier this month, a leading surgeon in the capital revealed that some of his military colleagues have described the situation working in hospitals serving Mayor Sadiq Khan’s London is “similar to being at [Afghanistan’s Camp] Bastion”.

“We used to look after people in their twenties. Now people are often in their mid to late teens and children in school uniforms are being admitted under our care with knife and gun wounds,” Dr Mark Griffiths told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4.

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