Fire and rescue services were called out to a fire at a former pre-school in Danderyd north of Stockholm in the early hours of Wednesday morning, just a day after the local authority announced the building was going to be turned into temporary accommodation for around 70 asylum seekers.
No one was injured in the blaze and it was put out before firefighters arrived on the scene.
It is the latest in a string of more than a dozen fires at buildings earmarked for asylum accommodation since the summer, which has already prompted police to step up their presence at centres across Sweden as concerns over the safety of refugees in the Nordic country grow.
Sweden's security police, Säpo, has been called in to help investigate if the suspected arson attacks could be linked to far-right activities.
Meanwhile, the Swedish national Migration Agency moved on Wednesday to keep the locations of future similar facilities secret out of fear of further attacks.
“It should not be possible to get a complete list of addresses to asylum housing,” Mikael Ribbenvik, chief operative officer at the Migration Agency, told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper on Wednesday.
Mikael Ribbenvik of the Swedish Migration Agency. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT
Some of the information will still be available locally, but several municipalities across Sweden have already chosen not to disclose the locations of new asylum centres due to threats.
Umeå council said a week ago that they would not reveal where 150 refugees set to arrive in the northern Swedish town would be housed.
“The risk is that thugs decide to burn down the premises here as well,” Ewa Klingfors, director of Umeå's social services, told regional newspaper Västerbottens-kuriren at the time.
The anti-immigration Sweden Democrat party has faced criticism after a local branch in Lund published a list of prospective refugee centres on Facebook. A party spokesman dismissed the idea that revealing the information would increase the risk of new attacks, but Ribbenvik criticized the move.
“You must ask them what the purpose is. We certainly don't want to contribute to facilitate that type of map survey,” he told DN.
Meanwhile, police believe one of the fires at a centre in Munkedal in south-western Sweden – which was hit twice in a week – last week began inside the building. Suspected arson is still being investigated.
Sweden expects to receive up to 190,000 asylum applications this year – putting it among the EU states with the highest proportion of refugees per capita.
Of those, 29,000 to 40,000 are expected to be children travelling alone.