Home | News    Tuesday 9 September 2003

Sixty Sudanese migrants detained in northern French port

CALAIS, France, Sept 9 (AFP) — Police in the northern French port of Calais said Tuesday they had detained a group of about 60 Sudanese migrants who were squatting in a disused warehouse and placed them in preventive detention.

Police said the migrants were "in a rather precarious state."

Last week, more than a dozen people were injured in brawls between Sudanese and Iraqi Kurd migrants in an industrial zone of Calais known as a staging area for illegal migrants hoping to reach Britain as stowaways aboard lorries.

A controversial refugee holding center in the nearby town of Sangatte, which was long a source of tension between Paris and London, was closed late last year in a bid to stop the illegal passage of thousands of migrants through the Channel tunnel or as stowaways on ferries to Britain.

But Calais, which houses ferry and rail services across the Channel, has continued to be a focus for migrants bent on reaching Britain, with dozens roaming through the streets every day.