Clash between migrant groups in French port city leaves 22 injured

27 2017 migrants gather during a food distribution in Grande Scynthe near Calais northern France one week after French authorities evacuated hundreds of migrants from a wood on the northern coast

Four migrants have been shot in a gunfight that broke out between Afghan and Eritrean migrants in France's port city of Calais.

French news agency AFP reports that four men have been hospitalised in a critical condition, and the fifth in a serious condition.

Police were searching for a 37-year-old Afghan, a suspected migrant smuggler, over the attack.

"We have reached an escalation of violence that has become unbearable for both those from Calais and migrants", Gerard Collomb said. He warned that there was likely to be further bloodshed.

"The message I want to get across is that if you want to go to Britain, it's not here you should come", Mr. Collomb said on Thursday while visiting local authorities and security forces in Calais.

Police intervened to protect the Afghans, the authorities said.

Last month, during French president Emmanuel Macron's visit to the UK, Britain agreed to the signing of a new treaty created to improve security in Calais.

The mayhem - which reportedly lasted almost two hours - broke out Thursday evening as migrants were assembling for meal distribution.

"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 risky", she said.


It is not yet clear who fired the bullets.

Firearms are rare among migrants, and the shootings represent the most serious clash in recent times among migrants around Calais.

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.

According to NPR's Eleanor Beardsley, reporting from Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron has said that makeshift migrant camps would no longer be tolerated and that migrants must report to official centers.

Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said the violence had reached a new level and accused gangs that try to smuggle migrants to the United Kingdom of instigating the violence.

Collomb appealed to migrants to stay away from Calais, saying the government would not allow them to settle there.

The police systematically tear down their encampments and use tear gas and batons to prevent them holding up truckers.

Many of those who had lived in the jungle moved to other areas of France but others remained in the hope of making their way on to trucks and boats heading towards the UK.

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