Since the start of the year, 15 arson attacks throughout the country have targeted refugee reception centres
STOCKHOLM: Arsonists attacked asylum seekers’ housing in the small town of Munkedal in southern Sweden early Tuesday, the latest in a wave of attacks as migrant numbers, and tensions, rise.
Since the start of the year, 15 arson attacks throughout the country have targeted refugee reception centres and apartments, reducing some to cinders.
“A civilised country like Sweden cannot accept that housing centres of asylum seekers should become prey to arsonists.” Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said on Twitter Tuesday.
Local enquiries have been launched, but the national police authority NOA could get involved if links are established between the various attacks, said police spokeswoman Carolina Ekeus.
Germany, Sweden can’t be left to shoulder refugee burden: UNHCR chief
The latest attack in the small hours of Tuesday morning occurred at normally tranquil Munkedal, a town of 10,000 inhabitants in southwestern Sweden.
No one was seriously injured, although some of the 14 migrants living there suffered slight smoke inhalation. They were swiftly rehoused.
“I thought I was going to die, it was horrible, but now it’s OK, I’m safe,” said Ahmet, a Somalian refugee interviewed by Swedish public radio SR.
In ten of the recent spate of cases, criminal intent has been established beyond doubt.
On June 19, two Molotov cocktails were hurled at a building housing migrants.
On August 16 a Christian cross was set ablaze near a migrant centre and, the same day, another centre was evacuated after the discovery of a bag containing flammable liquid.
Sweden to tighten anti-terrorism to stem Islamic State recruitment
That centre, in the central town of Arboga, housed two Eritrean migrants who were accused of a knife attack at an Ikea store three days earlier that left a 55-year-old woman and her 28-year-old son dead.
Sweden, which is home to 9.8 million people, is one of the European Union countries that has taken in the largest number of refugees as a proportion of its population.
Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said last week that up to 150,000 people could seek asylum this year in the Scandinavian country, which is struggling to find housing for the new arrivals.
In the first nine months of the year, more than 73,000 people applied for asylum in Sweden.