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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 March 2007, 19:54 GMT
Riot at asylum centre 'contained'
Aerial pictures of centre
The violence erupted early on Wednesday morning

About a third of detainees at an immigration centre are being moved to other sites after a riot.

Seven staff and two inmates were hurt during the disturbance at Campsfield removal centre near Kidlington, Oxfordshire, early on Wednesday.

The Home Office confirmed the situation was "fully contained", and that no one had escaped. "The public were not at risk," said a spokesman.

One detainee remains in hospital, while the others have all been discharged.

Five fire engines and 30 firefighters were called to tackle the incident but police described the blaze as "relatively small".

However, a detainee, who did not want to be named, told BBC News 24 that inmates had been fighting, smashing computers and looting shops in the centre.

He said the violence started after staff tried to remove an Algerian man from his room.

Lin Homer, director general of the Immigration Nationality Directorate (IND), said: "Throughout the day IND, GEO [the American company which runs the centre] and prison staff with the support of the police and fire services have been working to resolve the disturbance at Campsfield House Immigration Detention Centre.

"I can now confirm the situation is fully contained and the centre is calm.

Plans are underway to move around a third of the detainees from Campsfield House under escort to other parts of the IND detention estate
Lin Homer, director general of the Immigration Nationality Directorate

"The perimeter of Campsfield remains secure and no-one has escaped. There has been no risk to the public.

"Although seven staff and two detainees were taken to hospital suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation, I am pleased to say that all members of staff and one detainee have been discharged.

"One detainee remains in hospital under observation."

He added: "Campsfield holds approximately 200 people. The population comprises a mixture of foreign nationals who served a prison sentence and against whom we are pursuing deportation, and immigration offenders who we are in the process of removing.

'Big problems'

"Plans are under way to move around a third of the detainees from Campsfield House under escort to other parts of the IND detention estate.

"No detainee will be released from anywhere in the IND estate as a result of today's disturbance and we will continue to remove immigration offenders as planned."

Earlier, Sarah Cutler from Bail for Immigration Detainees, which provides workshops at Campsfield offering legal advice to detainees, had said she was not surprised by the disturbance.

"There are big problems at the moment," she said, adding that many people were being held for months.

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