Two killed in blaze at Italian migrant camp

Foggia (Italy), March 3 (IANS/AKI) Firemen on Friday recovered the charred bodies of two migrants who died in a massive fire that broke out overnight at a sprawling aslyum-seeker camp in southern Italy, police said.

Firefighters battled the blaze a the camp in San Severo in the Puglia region for many hours before bringing it under control late on Friday morning.

The fire gutted the camp, known locally as the ‘Big Ghetto’ and was the seventh and most serious to break out there since 2012.

The two victims have not yet been identified, but are thought to be two men from Mali, local paper Foggia Today reported on its website, citing camp residents.

Fanned by strong winds, the fire reportedly spread in minutes through the camp’s cardboard, wood, and plastic shacks. The blaze caused several canisters of gas used for heating and cooking in the camp to explode.

It was not immediately clear if the fire was accidental or arson.

Italian Police had on Wednesday begun evicting residents from the camp on the orders of local prosecutors after a probe alleged it had been infiltrated by organised crime.

But some 350 migrants had refused to leave and around 150 staged a protest outside the prefecture in the nearby city of Foggia on Thursday.

The 5,000 square-metre camp grew up over the past 20 years and was home to hundreds of mainly African migrants who were working as agricultural labourers in the surrounding area.

–IANS/AKI

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