Death of five migrants in the Channel: three arrests in the United Kingdom

British police announced on Wednesday that they had arrested three men, after the death of five migrants, including a little girl, during their crossing of the Channel from France on Tuesday. These men, two Sudanese aged 19 and 22 and a South Sudanese aged 22, are suspected of “facilitating illegal immigration and of having entered the United Kingdom illegally”, indicated the British law enforcement agency. against crime (National Crime Agency, NCA) in a press release.

They were arrested “as part of an investigation into the crossing of the Channel by a boat which led to the death of several migrants, including a child, off the French coast yesterday”, added the NCA. The three men were taken into custody on Tuesday evening and will be questioned in Kent, in the south of England. Fifty-five other people believed to have been on board the boat have been identified, the NCA said.

Nearly 30,000 migrants crossed the Channel in 2023

This fatal accident occurred a few hours after the adoption by the British Parliament of a controversial law allowing the expulsion to Rwanda of asylum seekers who entered the United Kingdom illegally.

In addition to the girl, aged seven, three men and a woman are among the dead, the prefect of the Pas-de-Calais department, Jacques Billant, said on Tuesday. Some 112 people, including Syrians and Iraqis, were on board the boat, according to the prefect. The boat set sail around 5 a.m. but the engine stopped a few hundred meters from the shore and people fell into the water. Around fifty migrants were rescued, then disembarked in Boulogne-sur-Mer. The others returned to the United Kingdom.

On Tuesday, more than 400 people crossed the Channel, according to provisional figures from the British Home Office. Nearly 6,700 have arrived on the English sides since the start of the year, or 20% more than last year at the same period. At least 15 migrants have died in 2024 in crossing attempts. In 2023, nearly 30,000 migrants will have made the crossing.

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