Kentish Express Ashford & District

Man in court over blaze at barracks

- By Sam Williams swilliams@thekmgroup. co.uk

A man charged following a suspected arson attack at Napier Barracks will now appear at crown court.

Fourteen people were arrested following the disturbanc­e at the Folkestone military camp on Friday, which is currently being used to house asylum seekers.

No serious injuries were reported as a result of the incident, however a significan­t amount of damage was caused to one part of the site during the blaze - which is believed to have been started deliberate­ly.

One of the suspects, 31-year-old Mohammed Ali, was charged with assault by beating, using or threatenin­g unlawful violence and criminal damage.

He appeared before Medway Magistrate­s’ Court on Monday, after which he was remanded in custody.

Mr Ali will next appear at Canterbury Crown Court on Monday, March 1.

The other 13 men arrested have been released on bail.

The incident on Friday fol

lowed weeks of unrest at the barracks, which was turned into temporary accommodat­ion for people seeking asylum in the UK by the Home Office in September.

Service users have complained of cramped conditions and feeling like they’re being detained.

Covid-19 also broke out and some asylum seekers were moved to hotels last month to make social distancing easier.

Several protests have also taken place inside the camp including some people going on a hunger strike - as well as outside the gates.

Last week, anonymous activists threw fake blood at the gates and called for the centre to close.

Police are still appealing for more informatio­n about this incident and would like to identify two people in connection with it.

 ?? Picture: Barry Goodwin ?? Police closed the road outside the barracks on Friday
Picture: Barry Goodwin Police closed the road outside the barracks on Friday
 ?? Picture: LKJ ?? Fire crews at the barracks following the disturbanc­e
Picture: LKJ Fire crews at the barracks following the disturbanc­e
 ??  ?? Flames and smoke shooting out of the barracks on Friday
Flames and smoke shooting out of the barracks on Friday

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