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African Migrants Living Like Animals In Marsa Stables

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Some African immigrants in Malta are so desperate for a roof over their heads they have ended up renting out stables designed for horses. 

Rumours of these stable-houses have been circling for a while, but have now been confirmed by Marsa mayor Francis Debono, who told Lovin Malta there are “a number” of such cases in his town. 

“These people will sleep anywhere… garages, washrooms… so long as they have a roof over their heads,” he said. “The problem started when the Marsa Open Centre opened in 2005. Residence there is only provisional, so as soon as residents are forced to relocate and bearing in mind the price of property, they will take what they can get.”

Living conditions inside this stables is said to be poor, housing several African people, with only makeshift beds and chairs as furniture. 

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Marsa mayor Francis Debono has called on human rights NGOs to shoulder responsibility for migrants living in poverty

The problem, which has also been reported in Hamrun, Valletta and Floriana, was recently discussed at a meeting between the Marsa and Hamrun local councils, home affairs minister Michael Farrugia, police commissioner Laurence Cutajar, and the Local Councils Association. 

The association’s president Mario Fava said the police have often received reports of large groups of migrants living in poor conditions in garages and stables, but warned their hands are effectively tied.

“The police go and check these cases out, but they can’t do anything about them because it isn’t a criminal offence to rent out garages and stables to tenants,” he told Lovin Malta. “Action must come from the Planning Authority and the Malta Tourism Authority, as they are unlicensed accommodations. Also, what do you expect the police to do? They can hardly kick them out into the streets…”

“They will sleep anywhere, just so long as they have a roof over their heads”

Marsa mayor Francis Debono

According to Francis Debono, the responsibility for this problem falls squarely with the human rights NGOs “who welcome these people into our country”.

“It is shameful for these NGOs, who are funded from our taxes, to welcome these people in, and then allow them to live like this,” he said. “They have abdicated the realities of life and have let these people fend for themselves, without even helping them get out of alcoholism. It seems they just want to protest and make noise to appear on the front pages, but then vanish when it comes to the crunch.”

Debono warned living conditions in Marsa have degenerated to a state not seen in Malta since the post-World War II period, and said many residents are scared to let their children walk out of home by themselves.”

“People don’t mind living near people of different races, but they do have problems living near people who take away the normality from their lives, near people who get drunk, vomit and shit in the streets in the middle of the day. Just as parents are worried when their children go to Paceville because of all that goes on there, so too are Marsa parents worried when their children step out of the front door.” 


African migrants in Marsa. Photo: Times of Malta

Marsa residents will next Sunday hold a protest for the government to “give them their dignity back”, and will be backed by the anti-immigrant Patriots’ Movement. 

Since the protest was announced, police have conducted a series of raids on African immigrants by the Marsa Open Centre, and home affairs minister Michael Farrugia announced, during a meeting with local councils, that new police cadets will be posted on the streets of Marsa and the other “problematic” areas of Hamrun, St Julian’s and Bugibba starting from November. 

Should the authorities step in to help these people out? Let us know what you think in the comments’ section

READ NEXT: Malta Reacts To The Migrant Who Took His Own Life

Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society and is passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Instagram or Twitter/X at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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