April 11, 2011 – 10:59
The Associated Press
LAMPEDUSA, Italy – Italian news reports say a fire has broken out in an immigrant shelter in Lampedusa, the tiny island close to North Africa where thousands of migrants have arrived in the past weeks. The ANSA news agency said a column of smoke was rising from two buildings in the centre. SKY Italia said that Tunisians protesting repatriations set the building ablaze.
About 50 migrants managed to escape from the centre, while others were stopped by police patrolling the area, according to ANSA. Some 26,000 illegal migrants have landed on Lampedusa since the beginning of the year, amid unrest across North Africa. Italy started repatriating Tunisians last week after striking a deal with Tunis.