Disturbances at UK military base
Tensions rise among migrants.
Migrant crisis: Disturbances at UK military base in Cyprus
Footage has emerged showing a series of disturbances by migrants who want to leave a UK military base in Cyprus.
It shows tents on fire, people trying to climb fences and one person shouting “We are people, not animals”.
The group landed at RAF Akrotiri last month and have been at a temporary camp elsewhere while their asylum applications are processed by Cyprus.
The Ministry of Defence says the 100 migrants – mostly Syrians – are being given three meals a day and shelter.
The footage appears to have been filmed on a smartphone by one of the migrants at the camp, which has been set up at another military station in the east of the island.
One clip appears to show a man threatening to hang himself before British police officers arrive. In another, a young boy complains about the cold, saying he had only flip flops to wear on his feet.
A government spokesman said: “We are aware of a series of incidents at the temporary accommodation facility in Cyprus.
“Those staying there have access to three meals a day, shelter, privacy and communications, which United Nations staff have visited and say exceeds the standard of comparable set-ups.
“We continue to work closely with the Cypriot authorities to resolve this situation as quickly as possible. The UK government will not allow a new migrant route to open up to the UK.”
The group, who landed at Akrotiri on Cyprus’s south coast, consisted of 67 men, 19 women and 28 children.
The government said 14 migrants had since been moved to accommodation in Cyprus.
“Those who have been moved include a number who have claimed asylum, as well as those deemed to be vulnerable,” a spokesman said.
BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale said the majority of the 114 were still in the camp and in limbo.
“The footage shows tensions are rising and the migrants are frustrated that they are not being allowed to move on,” he said.
“The message the government wants to send is a very firm one – we are not going to allow Cyprus to become a route into the UK and this is a matter that will be handed over to the Cypriot authorities.
“Trouble is very few have been handed over and this is a festering problem for the MoD.”