Residents of a village in eastern Lebanon torched tents that were housing hundreds of refugees who had fled the war in neighbouring Syria.
Hundreds were forced to flee the informal campsite in the eastern Bekaa village of Qsar Naba on Sunday after locals accused one of the men of sexually assaulting a disabled man.
Fearing another attack, many of the 400 refugees who were staying in the camp dismantled their tents and spent Sunday night sleeping in the open. But locals returned this evening and burnt the remaining tents, leaving the refugees with nowhere to go.
“There’s not a single tent left for us,” a weeping 33-year-old refugee named Ahmed Abdul Mahmud told AFP. He said the attackers beat the refugees and stole their belongings.
A doctor who examined the alleged victim told AFP there was no sign he had been raped.
The attack on the camp is the latest in a series of incidents that highlights growing tension between Lebanese citizens and the ever-growing number of Syrian refugees.
More than 800,000 Syrians are registered as refugees in Lebanon, but aid agencies estimate that closer to one million now live in Lebanon – constituting one quarter of the Lebanon’s total population. As many as 300,000 refugees in Lebanon are children, many of whom are forced to go out to work long hours for low pay in order to be able to eat.
The rapid influx of refugees into Lebanon has created greater competition for jobs, angering locals. In some towns where large numbers of Syrians are living, local authorities have imposed curfews demanding all “foreigners” be off the street by nightfall.
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