Bad Godesberg · Two asylum seekers are in custody because they are thought to have set fire to the asylum seekers' shelter in Bad Godesberg. A video shows how they piled up mattresses and furniture and how they set them on fire.
The metal beds and tables are moved together in the middle of the room. Mattresses, furniture and clothes pile up wildly. A young Albanian scolds the shaky camera his roommate is holding: about Germany, the system, his rejected asylum application. Then he lights a paper bag and holds it to a blanket. Shortly afterwards, the room of the asylum seekers' shelter in Muffendorf is on fire.
The mobile phone video, which appeared on the Internet on Monday evening, shows the fire that had endangered the lives of dozens of people the previous afternoon. Numerous firefighters extinguished the fire, about 150 residents of the accommodation, including many children, were brought to safetyfrom the accommodation on Deutschherrenstraße within a few minutes. One person suffered minor injuries, six others were able to leave the ambulances after a precautionary examination. The fact that nothing worse has happened is probably also due to chance: The fire broke out during the shift change of the security guard, who works in the accommodation of the district government of Cologne. This meant that twice as many helpers were on site to quickly get the residents to safety.
The video, which one of the suspects has published on the Internet and which the public prosecutor's office considers to be genuine, makes the burden of proof overwhelming. A judge issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday on suspicion of serious arson against the 24-year-old man who allegedly set the fire and the 19-year-old man who filmed. According to the public prosecutor's office, both were born in Albania. "The two men have been in Germany since April," says authority spokesman Robin Faßbender. So far they have not been noticed in connection with criminal acts.
Whether the duo admits the crime and what their motive is, the public prosecutor's office couldn’t yet comment on. The suspects have provided information and it is certain that this is not a politically motivated act. "The statements must be verified by further investigations and witnesses," said Faßbender. In the video, the 24-year-old's statements are clear: it's about revenge.
In the accommodation, which is a central accommodation of the district government and is inhabited by about 250 people, the two young men were not noticed. They shared a room with a third person in one of the two wings of the building. They had neither family nor friends in the region, according to their roommates.
In Muffendorf, the district government mainly accommodates asylum seekers from the Balkans whose deportation is considered safe. Residents report that the atmosphere is correspondingly frustrated. "But that's why they don't start a fire. Now I'm afraid for my family," says one father. Some local residents claim to have perceived a tense situation in the end. "It's up and down. Sometimes it's quiet, sometimes it's loud," says one woman. Theresidents would walk through the streets, leave rubbish behind and enter other people's properties. Another resident is relaxed about the accommodation: "Many people live there in a very small space. It is clear that it is not as quiet as in the country." She does not feel insecure. "You don't know each other, but you greet each other." Even if the faces would change frequently.
(Orig. text: Nicolas Ottersbach; Translation: Mareike Graepel)