Five Shot in Calais Migrant Violence
Five migrants have been shot in violent clashes in the French city of Calais.
A middle-aged Afghanistan refugee male is a suspect after allegedly shooting in a crowd of Eritrean refugees waiting in line for food.
Four young Eritreans, between 16 and 18 years of age, were reported to be in critical condition after the shooting. Agence France Press reported that the four injured teens were shot in the neck, chest and abdomen and spine and are struggling for life. All were taken to a local hospital for treatment. Twenty people, some by stabbing, were wounded in the melee.
Another outbreak of violence shortly after the shooting when nearly 200 Eritreans attacked about 20 Afghans with sticks and iron bars, said the local government.
There have been many violent clashes reported between different refugee groups but the use of firearms has alarmed officials.
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb blamed the uptick in violence on gangs and smugglers which are extremely well organized.
“Today we see that there are leaders of gangs who train others around them,” said Collomb in a press conference in Calais. “These networks must be dismantled.”
The Afghan suspect is still being sought by local authorities. Eyewitnesses on the food line say that there was more than one shooter.
This is the worst case in this strife-torn conflict between different migrant ethnic groups. In July 2017, ethnic fighting caused 16 injuries. A year earlier, brawls had left forty wounded.
It is estimated that up to 800 migrants are currently housed in Calais. Most have converged on this northern seaside city with the hopes of crossing the English Channel to live in the United Kingdom.
French President Emmanuel Macron had been in Calais last month to defend his heavily criticized immigration plans. During his visit, Macron met with migrants and promised to do all possible to prevent a large refugee camp from re-emerging. Macron was referring to a vast campsite with 700 migrants called “The Jungle” which was dismantled in 2016.
Two groups refused to meet with the president to protest the harsh security measures of the French police. Macron defended the security forces.
A new immigration plan has been promised by Macron is to be made public during this month.
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