According to reports, several fights erupted yesterday evening (Thursday February 1) between Afghan and African migrants escalated in the camp, with hundreds of migrants involved, and weapons such as guns seen to be used.
Fighting began at around 15h30 in one part of the camp, with another breaking out half an hour later around 5km away.
“Around 150-200 Eritreans migrants armed with sticks were attacking around 20 Afghans,” according to reports, with police eventually stepping in to help diffuse the violence and protect the victims.
Later, more violence erupted in the industrial zone in Calais, not far from the old “Calais Jungle” site that was dismantled in 2015.
The latest figures from the Agence France-Presse show that 22 people were hospitalised, with four Eritreans aged 16-18 reported to be suffering from life-threatening gunshot wounds. Two police officers were also slightly injured.
These numbers make the fights the most serious - in terms of casualties - since the incidents of June 2016, which injured 40 people; and of July 2017, which injured 16, of which one seriously.
However, as recently as November 2017, gunshots were fired during a fight between two groups of Afghan migrants, with five seriously injured.
“The conflict between the Africans and the Afghans is always bubbling under. It is unfortunately a rather normal pattern,” said a local council statement.
“This is an unprecedented level of violence [and] I deplore these exceptionally serious events," said Collomb, Socialist Minister of the Interior and Secretary of State, who went to the camp to - in his words, speaking at a later press conference - “reaffirm our commitment and unity in the face of people who would feed this daily violence and strife”.
According to local government, the Calais camps are home to 550-600 migrants seeking to cross the Channel to get to Britain, although non-governmental organisations often put the number much higher, at around 800.
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