Village association Nieuw-Weerdinge critics six COA for ‘sudden’ transfer of asylum seekers

The confidence of Local Interest Nieuw-Weerdinge in the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) has fallen this week ‘to absolute zero’. The association is displeased that COA ‘now suddenly’ has room for asylum seekers at a location other than Ter Apel.

Chairman Wim Katoen wrote this in an angry letter to the COA board. Katoen wants the body to come up with effective measures and fulfill agreements made.

Local Interest Nieuw-Weerdinge decided to take action after the COA had 240 asylum seekers from Ter Apel transferred to Biddinghuizen yesterday. This was done to relieve the burden on the registration center. Last night the deadline to reduce the number of asylum seekers to below 2,000 expired. The judge ruled that COA must pay a penalty of 15,000 euros per day if it does not achieve this.

“Ter Apel has been struggling with overcrowding in the registration center for years and COA has never offered a solution to that problem,” Katoen complains to the COA board. “The COA knowingly allowed the situation in Ter Apel to continue while there appeared to be solutions, but the judge first had to be involved to achieve this. Sad and sad.”

Local Interest Nieuw-Weerdinge has been complaining for some time about problems that have arisen in the village due to nuisance asylum seekers. The association says they are under the influence of drugs and aggressive. According to Local Interest, they also steal things from cars and defecate and urinate in the gardens of local residents.

Katoen: “We have been mopping here for two years with an open tap, while a building was and is available in Biddinghuizen. We wonder how the COA plans to explain this to the residents around here and in Ter Apel.”

The COA was unable to prevent a penalty by moving asylum seekers to Biddinghuizen. Last night, 2,032 asylum seekers stayed in Ter Apel. That is 32 more than the judge allowed.

A COA spokesperson said that he cannot comment on the letter because it has yet to be answered by the board. “But we really do our best every day to relieve Ter Apel,” he says. “There are currently no structural solutions, because the shelters in Biddinghuizen must also be empty again soon.”

COA chairman Milo Schoenmaker has informed Katoen that he will respond to his letter soon.

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