Trio of foreign nationals charged in arson of NGO-operated school within 'hotspot' on Lesvos

Saturday, 21 March 2020 17:32
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Police have arrested three foreign nationals in connection to a fire that destroyed a primary school within a migrant/refugee "hotspot" on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos two weeks ago.

The trio of suspects were identified as Palestinians, one of whom is a naturalized Greek citizen.

Authorities said CCTV footage and other information led to the alleged perpetrators. All three were charged with felony arson. Police said the three had travelled to Lesvos from Athens by ferry boat.

The fire within the Kara Tepe-area camp completely destroyed a school operated by the "One happy family" NGO.

The incident took place during the height of concerted attempts by thousands of third country nationals to breach the Greek border at the Kastanies post in the northeast Thrace province, the only spot on the Greek-Turkish frontier that is not separated by the Evros (Maritsa) River.

The attempted mass entry of would-be migrants and asylum seekers into Greece from Turkey is what Athens subsequently charged as being a "weaponization" of migrants by official Ankara, with Turkish authorities publicly transporting, encouraging, facilitating and often pressuring mostly third world migrants to illegally enter Greece - in a bid to reach preferred destinations in central and western Europe.

Concern at the time was rife that the arson was the work of local vigilantes on Lesvos (Mytilene), the hardest-hit of a handful of isles in the eastern Aegean since the migrant crisis erupted in 2015, or even far-right activists from western Europe.

No motive was given as yet by police.


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