France: ‘Exemplary’ migrant camp in ashes
A brawl between Afghans and Kurds is at the origin of the fire, said the prefect who came from Lille (Frnace) to assess the situation after the huge blaze at night reduced to a “cluster of ashes” the migrant camp run by NGO Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). It was a shelter to 1,500 people, and has been a scene of serious incidents already in recent months.
The migrant camp at Grande-Synthe, near Dunkerque, in the north of France, which was intended as an ‘exemplary’ shelter for migrants dreaming of enter the UK, seized its existence over night.
The huge blaze devastated most of its 300 sheds on Monday night, the authorities said, while some of inhabitants were evacuated to the building of local school and the others in the fields. Close to midnight, the camp of La Linière, offered by the ecologist Mayor of the municipality Damien Carême to end with the neighboring ‘jungle’ camp of Basroch was reduced to a ashes. “It will be impossible to put back sheds and tents in place of those that existed before,” declared to press the prefect of the North, hastened to the crime scene from Lille.
Opened in March 2016 by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the city, the camp hosted 1,500 migrants, mostly Iraqi Kurds, sheltering them in wooden sheds, but not in tents as previously. The camp, which is believed to be run by Iraqi Kurdish smugglers, has been the scene of several serious incidents in recent months, requiring the police action.
A brawl between Afghans and Kurds, producing six wounded in the late afternoon, degraded, and led to setting the camp on fire, said the prefect of the North Michel Lalande. “There must have been voluntary setting ablaze in several different places, it is not possible otherwise. It seems that this is linked to brawls, between Iraqis and Afghans, the investigation takes its cause,” – said one of the Mayor’s aids Olivier Caremelle.
According to several witnesses, the tensions came from the increase in the number of Afghans who arrived after the dismantling of the “Jungle” of Calais, 40 kilometers away. The Afghans were unhappy about being stationed in the communal kitchens, while the Kurds slept in cabins in better conditions. The fire was intended to destroy the sheds of Kurds, the Afghans envied, according to preliminary conclusions.
The local authorities, polices and NGOs continue to work at the spot.
“Massive and uncontrolable migraion leads to chaos and violence. It is urgent to re-establish order in France,” – said Marine Le Pen – the leader of the Front National, the candidate for upcoming presidential elections.