France sends police as migrant gangs clash in Calais

Five people have been shot in violent clashes between groups of migrants in Calais.

Reports differ on the conditions of the four wounded - The Associated Press says that all four were seriously hurt in the two-hour brawl, but France 24 reports that only one is in critical condition after the fight, involving hundreds of migrants "who had been queueing for food handouts".

Speaking in Calais in the aftermath of the fight, French interior minister Gerard Collomb vowed the government would "take control" after stating the city had reached "unbearable" levels of violence. He warned that there was likely to be further bloodshed.

Some 9,000 migrants lived in the infamous "Jungle" makeshift camp in Calais before authorities dismantled it in October 2016.

The shootout came at a time of rising tensions over the situation in Calais, a symbol of France's struggle to manage Europe's ongoing migrant crisis.

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

French president Emmanuel Macon said Calais would no longer be "a secret gateway to England" when he visited in January.

"The Pas-de-Calais prefecture said security forces were trying to protect Afghan migrants during a melee with Eritreans when the injuries happened".

"We received calls from young people who didn't know where to go, because the place they used to sleep was no longer accessible and were very unsafe", she said.

Groups of migrants have also frequently clashed with the police, who systematically tear down their encampments and intervene to prevent them from boarding trucks.

Mr Collomb urged migrants not to head to Calais if they wanted to try to get to the United Kingdom, saying their attempts from there - often trying to hide themselves in lorries - would be unsuccessful.

"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.

In this screen grab taken from Le Nord Littoral video, migrants clash in Calais, France, Thursday Feb. 1, 2018.

"They mistakenly thought that they could reach Britain more easily", Mr. Guennoc said.

Police tackling the riots using batons and teargas as they worked to restore order in Calais.

The confrontation is the worst since July 2017 when ethnic tensions boiled over, leaving 16 people injured.


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