A fire that killed 39 people at a migrant detention centre near the US border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, was started by migrants protesting against their expected deportation, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday.
The fire at the detention centre, which housed 68 people, began on Monday night, as per IANS’ report. As per a report of the immigration authorities, 29 people are in ‘critical’ condition.
President Obrador during a press conference said, “This had to do with a protest that they (the migrants) started, we suppose, after they found out that they were going to be deported. They put mattresses at the door of the shelter and set them on fire as a protest and they didn’t imagine it would cause this terrible tragedy.”
Footage of the incident has been shared on the micro-blogging platform and its authenticity has been confirmed by Mexico’s interior secretary Adan Augusto Lopez. The footage showcases migrants placing a mattress against the bars of the detention cell and then setting it on fire while guards walked away without trying to save the migrants that were locked up inside the cell.
🔴MEXICO :#VIDEO LEAKED IMAGES FROM FIRE AT MIGRANT FACILITY IN CIUDAD JUAREZ REVEAL TERRIFYING SCENES
Migrants were locked up & were not let out.
39 Migrants killed,dozens injured. #BreakingNews #UltimaHora #CiudadJuarez #Migrants #Migrantes #Fire #Incendio pic.twitter.com/QU4gfc5McD
— LoveWorld (@LoveWorld_Peopl) March 28, 2023
According to a statement from the Mexico attorney general’s office, immigration officials identified the deceased and injured as being from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador. 28 of those killed, according to Mario Bucaro, minister of foreign affairs for Guatemala, were Guatemalan citizens.
It was the deadliest incident inside a Mexican immigration facility in recent memory. Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire and the governmental National Human Rights Commission had been called in to help the migrants.
Tensions between authorities and migrants had apparently been running high in recent weeks in Ciudad Juarez, where shelters are full of people waiting for opportunities to cross into the U.S. or who have requested asylum there and are waiting out the process.