A detainee at the Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre in Kidlington has been taken to hospital following what was believed to be a suicide attempt.

The detainee, believed to be from the Democratic Republic of Congo, in central Africa tried to take his own life on New Year’s Day.

A source told the Oxford Mail: “A detainee attempted to commit suicide on Thursday by slitting his throat. Immediately after the incident the atmosphere was very tense, similar to how it has been before there have been riots.

“Some of the detainees were quite concerned but the mood seems to have softened since Friday. However, it’s still pretty gloomy, especially among the people that have been there two or three years.”

Liz Peretz, of the Campaign to Close Campsfield, said: “This is a symptom of the mental distress that is being caused by being in detention and facing deportation. Being in Campsfield is like the permanent purgatory of being in an airport departure lounge for a flight you don’t want to get on.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “We can confirm that an incident took place at Campsfield House on January 1. No other person was involved and the detainee was taken to hospital. All incidents of self-harm are treated very seriously and every step is taken to try to prevent incidents of this nature.”