Published: Sat, February 03, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Smugglers blamed after five migrants shot in Calais

Smugglers blamed after five migrants shot in Calais

Five migrants were shot during a brawl between Afghan and Eritrean migrants while they were queueing for food handouts on Thursday.

A fight pitting Afghan migrants against African migrants started Thursday afternoon close to a hospital where meals were being distributed, France Info reported.

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb (L) meets with DDCS personnel on 2 February 2018 in Calais, northern France, following a large brawl between a hundred migrants which resulted in several injuries. He warned that there was likely to be further bloodshed.

Though the Calais migrant camp known as the Jungle was demolished in 2016, hundreds of migrants are still living rough in the nearby woods, hoping to reach the UK.

Police are seeking a shooting suspect but have made no arrests, he said.

During a visit to Calais last month, French president Emmanuel Macon said Calais would no longer be "a secret gateway to England" for thousands of illegal migrants.

Three other migrants and two riot police officers were also injured in the clashes, during which rocks were hurled and tear gas was sacked.

"Those who arrive illegally, and who don't have the right to asylum, we will send back to their country of origin", Macron said.

The mayhem - which reportedly lasted almost two hours - broke out Thursday evening as migrants were assembling for meal distribution.

Annie Gavrilescu, France regional manager for charity Help Refugees, said: "Yesterday's clashes tragically show the true extent of the suffering these criminal gangs can cause, pitting communities against each other for gain, while displaced men, women and children in Calais are barely surviving in the most inhumane conditions".

Yet, organizations say, at least 200 more migrants, mostly young men from Eritrea, have reached Calais since that meeting, where Mr. Macron and Ms.

Authorities said French police intervened to protect the Afghans.

"There were migrants who had no money, the smugglers got angry and fired shots", an 18-year-old Afghan migrant, who gave his name as Daniel, told AFP while waiting in near-zero temperatures for tea and bread from a charity on Friday.

Collomb appealed to migrants to stay away from Calais, saying the government would not allow them to settle there.

Police tackling the riots using batons and teargas as they worked to restore order in Calais. In similar clashes in June 2016, 40 people were injured, and in July 2017, 16 people were injured in violence.

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