World Bulletin / News Desk
Four migrants were fighting for their lives on Friday after being shot during a giant brawl in Calais, in what the French government called an "intolerable" escalation of violence in a port that serves as a gateway to Britain.
Four Eritreans between 16 and 20 years old were shot in the neck, chest, abdomen and spine at a food distribution point, and remained in critical condition Friday evening. A fifth who was also shot was not facing life-threatening injuries.
Police were searching for a 37-year-old Afghan, a suspected migrant smuggler, over the attack.
"It sounds like score-settling: the person or persons responsible for the gunfire arrived at the food distribution area near the hospital where the Eritrean community was gathered and immediately opened fire," an official at the prosecutor's office in the nearby town of Boulogne-sur-Mer said.
A number of other migrants sustained stab wounds in the other melees sparked by the incident.
There were no signs of tension at the site of the attack on Friday, but, according to an official source, raids by states services "intensified", with several buses taking mainly Afghan migrants to other centres in the region.
French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking during a visit to Senegal Friday, said France would deal with the situation in a "humane and efficient manner", adding that new reception centres would be opened in the coming weeks.
But he stressed the distinction between bona fide asylum seekers and economic migrants.
"Those who arrive illegally, and who don't have the right to asylum, we will send back to their country of origin," Macron said.
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, who visited the scene in Calais, said the recurring brawls had become "intolerable for the people of Calais and the migrants" and told those with dreams of Britain to stay away.
His remarks came as the UN's migration agency reported at least 90 people were feared dead off the coast of Libya after their boat capsized.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Şubat 2018, 16:55