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Jul 18, 2016

Injuries reported in mass migrant brawl

No unnecessary force was used. The brawl was triggered by migrants fighting with each other

Eight people were hospitalized last night after a mass brawl involving some 200 migrants broke out at a camp in Hungary, a senior government official has said.

AFP reports that a group of around 20 migrants -- including Algerians, Syrians, Pakistanis, and Mongolians -- triggered the violence when they exchanged blows before attacking each other using furniture, said György Bakondi, chief advisor to Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The incident happened late last night in Kiskunhalas, close to the southern border with Serbia.

As many as 200 police were needed to restore order, and in total nine people sustained non-life threatening injuries.

The Kiskunhalas facility is one of three closed camps in Hungary where claims by asylum-seekers are processed.

The number of migrants in Hungary has been rising sharply in recent months, rising to a total of around 17,500 by the end of June.

Earlier this month, Budapest introduced new security measures including the forced return to no-man's land between Hungary and Serbia of any migrant found within five miles of the southern border .

In a report released in mid-July, Human Rights Watch denounced Hungary for "cruel and violent treatment" of migrants in April and May, accusing police and soldiers of beating people before forcibly expelling them back into Serbia.

The government rejected the claims, saying HRW was "misconstruing the rules relating to the asylum proceedings out of obvious ignorance of the situation".