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Moroccan asylum seeker sets himself alight in German town

A Moroccan asylum seeker has been badly injured after setting himself alight on a German street. He was protesting his imminent deportation.

Police said on Sunday that the 36-year-old Moroccan man had suffered life-threatening injuries after pouring petrol over himself and setting it alight in the town of Lingen in the northwestern state of Lower Saxony.

He had previously rung police to warn them of his suicide attempt, which took place on a public street late on Saturday evening.

Passers-by threw him to the ground in a bid to put out the flames before police arrived with a fire extinguisher.

The man was first taken to a local hospital, then flown by helicopter to a specialist burns unit in the western city of Gelsenkirchen.

The suicide attempt was carried out in protest at the man's scheduled deportation on Monday, after German authorities had refused his application for political asylum.

Germany, already Europe's most populous nation, has become

the top destination for asylum seekers in Europe.

It saw a rise of 60 percent in asylum requests last year, bringing the number of applications to more than 200,000, and they are expected to increase further this year.

tj/kms(AFP, dpa)

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