At least 39 people were killed and 29 injured in a fire at a migrant center in the northern Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez near the US border, writes the Associated Press.
The fire broke out around 22:00 local time. In the center were 68 people from Central and South America. An eyewitness told Reuters that he saw the bodies laid out in body bags. Many of the migrants who were in this center were citizens of Venezuela. The fire has already been extinguished, he said.
It is assumed that many of them are migrants who were arrested in the city the day before and kept in locked rooms, writes the BBC Russian Service. The publication, citing local newspapers, reports that shortly before the fire, a brawl broke out inside the building. According to some reports, the migrants set fire to mattresses in protest.
The Associated Press points out that Mexico’s border towns have seen a buildup of migrants in recent weeks as authorities try to process asylum requests with a new government app.
In early March, more than 30 migrant shelters and human rights organizations published an open letter complaining about the criminalization of migrants and asylum seekers in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. They accused the authorities of abuse and use of excessive force in rounding up migrants and unjustified interrogations about immigration status by the police.
In recent years, under pressure from the United States, Mexico has stepped up its efforts to contain the migration flow. Protests and riots occur from time to time in migrant detention facilities.
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