NEWS

Samos center overcrowded

A reception center for illegal immigrants on the island of Samos is operating at more than twice its capacity after a recent spate of efforts to smuggle people into Greece, mainly from Turkey. The building is designed to house up to 100 immigrants but is currently holding 241. Samos is less than a mile from the closest point on the Turkish coast. Human rights campaigners have already complained this month about the conditions in which illegal immigrants are detained there. On Saturday the coast guard arrested an 18-year-old Afghan near the island. He was ferrying eight women and three men originating from Somalia and Sierra Leone on a 6-meter wooden boat to Greece from Turkey, sources say. Last weekend, rescuers found the bodies of five drowned Afghans after a wooden boat carrying 20 people foundered in high seas off Samos. Only seven survivors were found. The Samos harbor master, Diamantis Bonofas, said security measures in the island’s waters have been stepped up and more coast guard personnel would be added.