Police have stepped up their presence at asylum centres in Sweden after three buildings earmarked for refugee accommodation were burned to the ground in suspected arson attacks in less than a week.
Now Umeå in northern Sweden is preparing to take in 150 asylum seekers, but the local authority does not want to disclose where they are going to be housed, out of fear of similar attacks.
“After the past week's fire incidents in southern Sweden I don't think it's okay to expose the addresses. The risk is that thugs decide to burn down the premises here as well,” Ewa Klingfors, director of Umeå council's social services, told Västerbottens-kuriren.
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Police are still investigating a suspicious fire at an old school building earmarked for asylum accommodation in Onsala south of Gothenburg over the weekend, just days after another two hubs were burned to the ground in Ljungby and Arlöv in southern Sweden.
“The investigation continues and we're continuing interrogations. We have no suspects,” police spokesperson Cecilia Bergsten told the TT news agency about the Onsala fire.
Refugees arriving at Stockholm Central Station. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
With Sweden taking in record number of refugees and even setting up a tent camp to deal with some of the new arrivals, Sweden's Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) recently sent out a nationwide appeal for businesses and local councils to provide shelter as winter sets in.
Over the weekend, hundreds arrived at the world's most northerly ski resort in Lapland, while sports halls, theatres and disused schools around the country have also been transformed into temporary homes.
A total of 95,430 people have launched asylum cases so far in 2015, according to fresh figures from Migrationsverket. Almost 10,000 have arrived since last Monday when Sweden surpassed a previous record set in 1992 of 84,016 people seeking sanctuary in the Nordic nation following fighting in the Balkans.