Local authorities are on alert after 35 irregular migrants suffered minor wounds during an altercation on Wednesday between rival groups of underage asylum seekers at the Pournara reception camp in Nicosia.
As if that was not enough, police said early on Thursday that a 15-year-old boy stabbed late on Wednesday a 17-year-old one who is now in critical condition in hospital. The assailant ran away and an arrest warrant has been issued.
Nigerian and Congolese youths housed at the camp attacked each other over a “totally insignificant reason” that began at the facility’s basketball court. Riot police had to be called in to restore order.
At the same time, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris has said the repatriations of migrants who have had their asylum applications rejected is essential to easing overcrowding and reducing violence the camp.
The rising migrant arrivals are pushing the small island’s capacity to host them to its limits.
Some 13,235 new asylum applications were filed last year, with most being rejected. The Interior Ministry says a lack of clear European Union migration policies is impeding deportations.
Nouris also said 85% of the asylum-seekers entered Cyprus from the breakaway Turkish north of the divided island and crossed a porous U.N.-controlled buffer zone to file their claims.