A 78-year-old resident of the village of Moria was on Wednesday charged in connection with the shooting of a 16-year-old Syrian asylum seeker and given 48 hours to prepare his testimony to an examining magistrate on the serious criminal charges brought against him.

The incident, in which the accused fired at three individuals from the Moria camp that entered his yard with a weapon for which he had no permit, occurred on Tuesday afternoon. The 16-year-old was injured in the legs and head and is now being treated at Mytilene hospital, where doctors say his life is not in any danger.

The boy's parents and younger brother were with him at the time and were witnesses to the shooting. The family had arrived on the island the previous Sunday and had left the Moria camp to escape riots that broke out between Afghan and Arabic-speaking asylum seekers, seeking refuge in the village until the violence subsided.

The 78-year-old has two prior convictions for murder, including that of a friend that he killed with a shotgun and the stabbing, after his release from prison, of his wife. There have also been numerous complaints in the last four years, after the Moria reception and identification centre was created, that he had fired warning shots into the air for which he was never arrested.