Ivory Coast man sets himself alight at Rome airport

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Migrants demonstrating in Rome in 2009 about new immigration lawsImage source, AFP
Image caption,
Italy brought in tough laws in 2009 to crack down on illegal migrants

An Ivorian man about to be deported from Italy has set himself alight at Fiumicino airport in the capital, Rome, Italian media has reported.

A customs official extinguished the flames, but the young man is believed to be badly burnt.

The airport said the man had not passed through security and was in the main international departure terminal at the time, AP news agency reports.

Many migrants enter Italy, illegally crossing the Mediterranean from Africa.

The incident happened at about 10:30 local time (09:30 GMT).

The man from Ivory Coast reportedly hid the fuel in his suitcase.

According to Italy's La Repubblica newspaper, a police officer noticed the man had covered himself with the liquid and had a light in his hand. He ran towards the man but was unable to stop him.

A nearby customs official, Tiziana Garner, told the Corriere della Serra newspaper that she spotted that the officer's arm was on fire and helped him remove his top.

She then realised the Ivorian man, believed to be aged 19, was on fire and used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames, the paper reports.

The man and the officer have been taken to hospital and the area of the airport where the fire happened has re-opened to the public, AFP news agency says.

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