Germany foils anti-migrant arson plot as hostility mounts

2015-10-22 22:07
Weapons and items with banned Nazi symbols seized during the raids in Bamberg, Germany. (Nicolas Armer/dpa via AP)

Weapons and items with banned Nazi symbols seized during the raids in Bamberg, Germany. (Nicolas Armer/dpa via AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Berlin  - German officials said on Thursday they had foiled an extremist plot to torch migrant shelters, adding to concerns over rising attacks on refugees in Europe as migrant arrivals hit new records.

Police in the southern German town of Bamberg arrested 13 members of a far-right movement suspected of planning to set fire to two homes for asylum seekers, prosecutors said.

The UN's rights chief, meanwhile, accused the Czech Republic of systematically detaining migrants in "degrading" conditions, as part of a policy to dissuade them from entering the central European country.

As hostility towards the migrants and refugees streaming into Europe grows, reports emerged of fresh assaults on boats carrying migrants from Turkey to Greece in the Aegan Sea.

Masked gunmen in speedboats rammed several rubber dinghies and stole their motor in early October, Human Rights Watched said on Thursday, echoing similar incidents reported by migrants and rights groups in recent months.

Greece called on the European Union for an additional at least $374m next year to cope with the influx of newcomers fleeing war and poverty in places like Syria and Iraq.

Slovenia, which has become the latest hot-spot in the crisis, reported a record number of arrivals over a 24-hour period. The EU's top migration official Dimitris Avramopoulos paid a visit there on Thursday.

But Germany remains the preferred destination for many migrants and faces a backlash over Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door policy as it braces for up to a million asylum requests this year.

During July, August and September, there were 285 attacks on migrant centres across Germany - more than the entire number in 2014, which stood at 198 offences, Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office said.

Police swooped on Bamberg late on Wednesday, arresting 11 men and two women whom they said were members of both a far-right movement and a criminal gang that was planning attacks on migrants, prosecutors said.

And in Sweden, a masked man with reported far-right sympathies killed a teacher and a student in a sword attack on a school that hosts many newly-arrived migrants. It was not immediately clear whether he meant to target migrants.

Europe has been struggling to find a unified response on how to tackle its biggest migration crisis since WWII.

More than 600 000 people, mainly fleeing violence in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, have braved the dangerous sea journey to Europe so far this year.

Of these, over 3 000 have drowned or gone missing in the Mediterranean.

'Duty to protect' 

Slovenia is now their main entry point into the passport-free Schengen zone, with tens of thousands pouring into the country after Hungary sealed its southern borders with razor-wire fences.

More than 12 600 people had arrived in the country of two million people within 24 hours, a daily record, police said on Thursday.

This brought the total number of arrivals to over 38 580 since Saturday when Budapest shut its frontier with Croatia, just a month after closing its Serbian border.

In response to the crisis, Avramopoulos held talks with the Slovenian government on Thursday to discuss possible backup from police in other EU countries and financial assistance.

"We urgently need a common approach. Winter is already here. There's no question that all countries have a duty to protect and harbour these human beings in desperate need for help," Avramopoulos told journalists after the talks.

Neighbouring Austria announced on Thursday it would send a further 100 soldiers to reinforce the 500-strong army contingent at its Spielfeld border camp and help manage the migrants' transports.

Further south, long queues continued to form at Slovenia's border with Croatia.

Amid a heavy police presence, the exhausted travellers - some wearing sandals - slowly shuffled across the Dobova border crossing as an army helicopter circled overhead.

Many of the migrants' clothes were caked in mud after a wet and arduous journey through the Balkans and central Europe.

A 27-year-old Syrian said he and his wife had fled the spiralling conflict in Damascus 10 days ago, shortly after getting married.

"We sold everything, we don't have a life there anymore," he told AFP.

'Unfolding emergency' 

In view of "the unfolding emergency" in the region, the European Commission has called a mini summit with Balkan leaders on Sunday, acknowledging there was "a need for much greater co-operation... and immediate operational action".

With at least 9 000 people landing on Europe's beaches every day, even wealthier bloc members insisted the influx is stretching reception capacities beyond limits.

Sweden said on Thursday it expected up to 190 000 asylum applications this year and warned it already lacked housing for tens of thousands of recent arrivals.

Last month, the EU approved plans to redistribute 160 000 asylum seekers from overstretched frontline states Italy and Greece through an EU-wide compulsory quota system that met with fierce resistance from some countries.

Member states have also been slow to follow up with promised financial help.

Read more on:    germany  |  migrants

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


5 top leg exercises for men

Here’s our selection of the five best leg exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home.


You won't want to miss...

10 best dressed men of 2017
How to open a beer bottle without an opener
WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…
WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.