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January 18, 2022
News World

Desperate Afghan Refugee Sets Himself On Fire

Afghan refugee Ezat Najafi sensed something was wrong when his friend and fellow refugee, Ahmad Shah, began to behave erratically in front of the Indonesian Organization for Migration (IOM) building in the Indonesian city of Medan.

For a month, a group of Afghan refugees — some of whom have been living in limbo in Indonesia for almost a decade — had been staging a 24-hour protest in a makeshift camp in front of the IOM office, sleeping in tents pitched in the forecourt.

Afghan refugee Ezat Najafi sensed something was wrong when his friend and fellow refugee, Ahmad Shah, began to behave erratically in front of the Indonesian Organization for Migration (IOM) building in the Indonesian city of Medan.

For a month, a group of Afghan refugees — some of whom have been living in limbo in Indonesia for almost a decade — had been staging a 24-hour protest in a makeshift camp in front of the IOM office, sleeping in tents pitched in the forecourt.

An amateur video shot at the scene that circulated widely on Indonesian social media shows what happened next: Najafi and several other refugees tried to reason with Shah as he flicked the lighters in his hands and ignited his petrol-soaked clothes.

Flames engulfed his upper body as Najafi lunged towards Shah in a desperate attempt to help him, before being beaten back by the heat. Finally, a security guard rushed to Shah with a fire extinguisher and doused the flames.

“He was on fire for maybe 20 seconds,” another refugee, 25-year-old Mohammad Reza, told Al Jazeera.

When the flames subsided, Shah’s arms and face had been badly burned. He was reportedly taken across the street to a private hospital, but was moved to one of Medan’s public hospitals on the same day by the IOM, according to his friends who said that the organisation did not want to have to pay for his medical care.

Aljazeera

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