A group of Tunisian migrants set fire to the main pavilion in a Lampedusa refugee welcome center Tuesday night, causing severe damage, after learning they would be repatriated to their home country, according to reports.
The fire enveloped the first aid and reception center of Imbriacola in Lampedusa, which presently houses some 530 asylum-seekers, though no injuries have been reported. This is not the first time that migrants have set the pavilion ablaze. Similar acts of arson occurred in 2009 and then in 2011.
After hours battling the fire, which was set around 10:30pm, teams of firefighters stationed on the island were finally able to get the blaze under control in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
“The situation is unclear. But luckily all the guests are safe, no one was hurt,” said the director of the center, Rossana Perri.