Cyprus to deport 28 migrants after reception camp riot
November 8, 2023 11:09 PM
Cypriot authorities said on Wednesday that 28 asylum seekers would be deported for committing public order offences after a riot at the island's main migrant reception centre.
Thirty-three people were arrested at the Pournara camp outside Nicosia after fighting broke out on Monday between mainly Africans and Syrians.
Riot police used tear gas to end the violence.
Interior Ministry spokesperson Margarita Kyriakou told the official Cyprus News Agency deportation orders issued against 28 people would be enforced in the coming days.
Cypriot newspaper Phileleftheros reported on Wednesday that tempers flared between Nigerians and Syrians when a ball burst during a football game.
Eight migrants were slightly injured in the fighting and were given first aid in hospital.
Cyprus is a frontline country on the Mediterranean migrant route, and reports one of the highest rates of first-time asylum seekers in the European Union.
According to official figures, asylum-seekers comprise six percent of the 915,000 population in the government-controlled south of the island –- a record figure across the EU.
The self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus controls the northern third of the island and is recognised only by Ankara.
The Cyprus government recently doubled the 1,000-person capacity of Pournara after an influx of more than 500 Syrians from Lebanon since the Israel-Hamas war began a month ago.