Dozens of refugees, including pregnant women and children, on the Greek island of Chios are spending the night out in the cold, too frightened to return to their camp after a suspected far-right group attacked it with Molotov cocktails and massive stones “bigger than the size of a football”.
More than 100 residents of the island’s Souda camp, located next to the ruins of an ancient castle in central Chios, lost their places to sleep after several tents were destroyed in two nights of incidents, according to the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR).
“Families are so scared that they prefer not to return to the camp, although they don’t have any other accommodation,” Roland Schoenbauer, spokesman for UNHCR Greece, told Al Jazeera.
The latest large-scale attack happened on Thursday evening, when outsiders standing on top of the ruins hurled Molotov bombs and giant rocks directly into the refugees’ tents, aid groups and solidarity workers told Al Jazeera.
“It was just pure luck that no child was hit in the head by these massive stones, because that would had been most likely deadly,” Claire Whelan, a Chios-based protection and advocacy adviser for the Norwegian Refugee Council, told Al Jazeera.
“There were also Molotov cocktails being thrown from the top and fires broke out. This is a very narrow tent camp, and it is very dangerous when there’s a fire.”
Police told Al Jazeera that an investigation is under way to determine whether a Molotov cocktail had caused the fire in the municipality-run camp, which is home to some 800 refugees, according to UNHCR.