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FILE PHOTO: A migrant stands in the doorway of a Swiss Federal refugee center, set-up in a tank hall on the army base in Thun, Switzerland March 22, 2016. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

(reuters_tickers)

ZURICH (Reuters) - Requests for asylum in Switzerland dropped by a third in September, bringing the total for the first nine months to just under 14,000, the lowest since 2010, government data showed.

A drop since mid-July in the number of would-be refugees trying to reach Europe via the Mediterranean played a role, the State Secretariat for Migration said on Thursday, adding that Switzerland was also not a primary destination for these people.

Citizens of Eritrea remained the biggest group of asylum seekers in September, followed by people arriving from Syria, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Somalia.

Switzerland is not a member of the European Union but takes in some asylum seekers who have reached frontline states Greece and Italy to help relieve their burden. It has accepted around 1,300 such people since the programme began in September 2015.

(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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