Migrant boys kidnapped Filameno Albano and her team
Filomena Albano and her team, including judges, were locked inside the migrant centre for 30 unaccompanied minors, mainly from Gambia, Nigeria and Egypt, in Cassano delle Murge, Puglia, Italy, for more than an hour yesterday.
A group of 12 boys threatened the delegation by saying they would cut the facility manager's throat as they demanded "answers" during the planned visit in which the team were reviewing the condition of the centre.
They blocked the officials' cars in by surrounding them and lying on the floor while other put chairs and benches in front of the exit gate to stop them leaving.
They kidnapped us for more than an hour, it was a bad experience
Speaking to the Italian news agency ANSA, Ms Albano said: "They kidnapped us for more than an hour, it was a bad experience.
"We parked our cars and then they locked us inside the building while some of the minors blocked exit routes, preventing cars from moving."
She said some of the boys started screaming and tell her all they do is eat and sleep but do not go to school.
They told her: "We do not do anything, we see nothing for our future.
"We don't believe anyone because the Ministry has just told us lies."
As the group were held captive, Ms Albano found out the facility's manager has repeatedly been threatened by the boys and last Saturday they destroyed a room at the centre.
The boys were staying at a migrant centre in Puglia, like this one
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The delegation was eventually freed after police managed to calm the boys down thanks to a phone call from one of the visiting group's officials.
However, the boys continued to hold the centre's staff captive for a while longer before freeing them.
Rosy Paparella, the local children's commissioner for Puglia, said: "It was a painful experience. They were very angry.
"We have done this work for some time, but such a thing had never happened.
"They are desperate. By law they should remain in such facilities for no more than 60 days and instead there are cases where they are waiting more than 15 months.
Migrants have been coming to Italy in record numbers last year
Italy has been in a state of unrest over the migrant arrivals
"They faced a terrible journey to get to Italy and they imagined their future in a different way, not a long wait for who knows what.
"We need to give them answers very quickly. Otherwise, this craziness could happen again."
She said they would not let the incident affect them and will continue to visit another centre today in Trani where she will continue to put pressure on the Ministry of the Interior to speed up the placement of children.
Italy has been suffering with a surge of migrant arrivals over the past year, with a record number arriving by sea in 2016.
A staggering 181,436 came to the country last year, marking an 18 per cent increase on the year before.
In October alone, more than 27,000 arrived, the Institute for the Analysis of Multiethnicity (Ismu) found.
Data showed 85 per cent of asylum requests came from men and 4 per cent from unaccompanied minors, with Nigerians making up nearly a fifth of all arrivals.
The crisis has caused huge social upheaval across Italy and led to growing support for nationalist, anti-immigration parties.
The EU-Turkey deal, where migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey are sent back, has contributed to the surge as North African migrants have been forced to find a different route into Europe.
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