Asylum-seekers arrested following daring escape

Two Iraqi refugees facing deportation to Baghdad made a dramatic escape from an asylum detention centre but were recaptured by police using dogs and a helicopter.

Ahmed Hussein Saeed and Mohammed Abdullah, both failed asylum-seekers, fled after scaling a razor-wire perimeter fence at Campsfield House detention centre in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, on Thursday night.

Mr Abdullah was apprehended almost immediately and it appeared that his escape was not reported to police. Mr Saeed managed to travel to London before he was found and arrested yesterday morning.

Last night, he was in hospital with a suspected broken leg and deep cuts that he sustained scaling the fence. A spokesman for Thames Valley Police said: "We can confirm that we received a report at approximately 10.30pm [on Thursday] that a man had escaped from Campsfield detention centre. We understand that the man has now been found."

The two men, both ethnic Kurds, were due to be flown to the Iraqi capital on Monday. The British Government has recently begun flying failed Kurdish asylum-seekers to Baghdad rather than the semi-autonomous Kurdish area of northern Iraq, because the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) refuses to accept anyone who has been brought under duress.

The UK Border Agency tried to remove Mr Saeed to Kurdistan five months ago but he was immediately sent back to Britain after he confirmed to Kurdish airport officials that he had been repatriated against his will.

Fifteen Iraqi refugees have been flown to Baghdad this month, of which several were Kurds. British officials tried to send their flight on to Kurdistan but were told by the KRG that this was not acceptable.

A spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq told The Independent that British authorities now simply left Kurdish refugees in Baghdad with $100 and a hotel room for the night, and instructed them to make their own way back home to Kurdistan from there.

A UK Border Agency spokesperson said: "The UK Border Agency only ever returns those who both the agency and the courts are satisfied do not need our protection and refuse to leave voluntarily.

"Currently we have agreement with the Government of Iraq to return all Iraqi citizens to Baghdad. We make arrangements for those who require onward travel to their home towns, and this includes those travelling to Kurdistan.

"These arrangements worked well on the recent charter flights to Baghdad and we are confident they will continue to do so."

Mr Saeed has lived in Britain for nine years but has been detained for the past 10 months. A friend claimed he had "done nothing wrong here".

"He is running away from tribal violence. They tried to send him back before but the government over there wouldn't accept him into the country. He is desperate not to go back," added the friend, who asked not to be named.

According to the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR), at least 50 more Iraqis are marked down for removal to Baghdad on Monday. The group is leading a campaign to stop all deportations to Iraq while the security and political situation there remains uncertain.

Dashty Jamal, the secretary of the IFIR, said: "These deportations must be stopped. There is a campaign in Iraq of politicians, writers, journalists and many freedom-loving people [who] condemn this collusion, between the puppet militia running Iraq and the British Government, to send back people who were victims of the violence that continues to devastate the country. We call on people in Britain to do the same."

David Wood, the head of criminality and detention services at the UK Border Agency, said: "A detainee escaped from Campsfield immigration removal centre on Thursday evening. He has now been recaptured and is back in detention."

This article was amended on 6 September to add a comment from the UK Border Agency.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map