PARIS – Four teenagers were shot on Thursday amid fights between groups of Afghan and Eritrean migrants in the northern port city of Calais, the French government said.
Three of the gunshot victims were in critical condition.
The violence broke out as migrants were waiting in line for food. Police ultimately stepped in to protect a score of Afghan migrants facing as many as 200 Eritreans, authorities in the area said.
The combatants used sticks, stones and steel pipes and it remained unclear who fired the shots.
France’s interior minister, Gerard Collomb, announced that he would travel to Calais, which has become a way station for migrants trying to reach Britain.
“After today’s serious incidents I shall be heading for Calais tonight to take stock of the situation with the prefect, the mayor and local players,” Collomb wrote on Twitter.
A 22-year-old man was stabbed to death in August during a fight among migrants in Calais, once the site of a camp known as the Jungle that housed some 10,000 migrants, principally from Afghanistan, Eritrea and Sudan.
French authorities dismantled the camp in October 2016, but anywhere from 550 to 800 migrants remain in Calais, according to estimates by officials and charities.