French gov't pledges more security forces in Calais after violent migrants brawls

Nord Littoral via APIn this grab taken from Le Nord Littoral video migrants clash as fighting broke out in Calais France Feb. 1 2018

French authorities sent police reinforcements to Calais today after five migrants were shot and more than a dozen injured in overnight clashes near the port.

The fight was between Afghan and Eritrean 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.

Interior minister speaks of 'a degree of violence never witnessed'.

More than 100 African migrants armed with iron rods and sticks attacked a group of around 20 Afghans, prosecutors said.

The prefecture of the Pas-de-Calais region said the gunfire was the culmination of a fight between Afghan and Eritrean migrants, and took place after a meal distribution near the Calais hospital.

Charities estimate there are around 800 migrants living in Calais but official figures claim there are between 550 and 600. Another person was injured in a road accident.

Johan Ben Azzouz  EPA via Shutterstock
Johan Ben Azzouz EPA via Shutterstock

At least three were in a life-threatening condition as French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said he was on the way to the port town to deal with the emergency.

Calais was home to the unofficial "jungle" refugee camp, which housed thousands of refugees in tents, until French authorities demolished it in October 2016.

"Mr. Macron said the Sandhurst Treaty signed on Thursday - the first joint treaty on the Calais border in 15 years - would "enable us to improve the relationship and the management of the joint border" and reduce the time taken to process migrants".

Why are migrants attempting to reach the United Kingdom from France: There are several reasons given by migrants for their attempts to reach British soil, but many of them hope to reunite with their communities in the UK.

The government of President Emmanuel Macron has sought to address the migrant situation in Calais and elsewhere by prioritizing asylum seekers over economic migrants.

"There will be people here at their wits' ends faced with this increasingly violent presence among a certain number of migrants, who it is plain to see are organised in gangs", Collomb told reporters after spending the night in Calais.

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