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Second arson attack at Swiss asylum centre

Lyssandra Sears · 7 May 2012, 10:11

Published: 07 May 2012 11:37 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 May 2012 10:11 GMT+02:00

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For the second time in a week, arsonists set fire to a house occupied by asylum seekers on Saturday night.

“The perpetrators set fire to the front doors using firelighters," an Iraqi tenant known only as Samiri F told online news site 20 Minuten.

The attacks took place at an asylum centre in the town of Affoltern am Albis, near Zurich.

“I've lived here for seven years, but such a thing has never happened before,” said Daniel L from Ethiopia.

A security guard has been posted at the premises but it is uncertain how long he will stay for.

"We are all very scared. Women and children also live here, " said Samiri F.

The arson attacks of the past week were the first to target asylum seekers in ten years. According to extremist expert, Samuel Althof, the attacks reflect the “heated, xenophobic sentiment” currently alive in the country.

"Federal Councillor Sommaruga is partly responsible,” Liberal councillor Peter Malama told the website.

“She must take this signal seriously and ensure that asylum applications are processed as quickly as possible.”

National Councillor Andreas Gross also thinks the attacks reflect the fact that people do not feel understood.

Althof believes that such discontentment leads violent and unhappy men to turn to criminal activity.

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

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