ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Vatican police on Saturday arrested an Iraqi migrant threatening to burn himself near St. Peter’s Basilica, an Italian newspaper reported.
It took place on Pius XII Square, near Bernini’s Colonnade, on Saturday afternoon, according to Il Messaggero newspaper, later reported by Sputnik.
A video shows the man in a black t-shirt and blue jeans talking to police officers before shouting “Allah u Akbar” and waving a lighter, threatening to ignite himself while still alive, the newspaper stated.
Police officers were able to stop and detained the man before transferring him to a nearby police station.
The process of detaining him went smoothly and caused no trouble to tourists passing nearby, the newspaper added. The reason behind his attempt to ignite himself remains unknown.
The man is reportedly awaiting a decision from the Italian government for his asylum-seeking application in the country.
The migration of Iraqi nationals to various Western countries has been ongoing in the past two decades due to the Iraq war in 2003 and the destabilization which followed. The number then started to dramatically increase following the emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq in 2014.
Most of the migrants take illegal paths to reach the European border, where they aim to seek asylum and start a new life. In the past few years, many have been deported back to Iraq after their applications have been rejected by European governments.
Editing by John J. Catherine