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Illegal Crossings: Migrants Fight with Machetes, Use Women and Children as Shields to Reach U. K

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In a highly concerning development, increasing numbers of migrants attempting to cross the English Channel are using young children as “human shields” to prevent French police from intercepting their boats, senior Border Force officials have told GB News.

Carol Heginbottom, Deputy Director of International Operations at the Small Boats Operational Command in Dover, described the intensifying violence faced by French law enforcement as a “massive concern.” According to Heginbottom, migrants are attacking police with weapons such as sticks, metal bars, and machetes, while using women and children as human shields to hinder law enforcement actions.

“It’s growing, it’s getting worse and we need to continue to keep plugging away at stopping these organised criminal gangs that are putting people at risk,” Heginbottom told GB News.

Officials also expressed concern about a new tactic where groups of migrants storm and fight other groups to force their way onto boats. Last Tuesday, five migrants died off the French coast after a group of African men fought with other migrants on the beach at Wimereux and pushed their way onto an overcrowded vessel carrying 112 people.

Trevor Taylor, a Higher Officer in the Small Boats Operational Command, showed GB News the type of small boats criminal gangs are using to ferry migrants, describing them as “just not seaworthy at all.” The boats are often dangerously overcrowded, with 70 to 80 people on a single vessel, and are prone to punctures that could cause them to sink.

Migrants are given cheap air pumps to keep the boats inflated and makeshift plastic containers to bail out seawater. Few suitable lifejackets are provided, with some migrants using children’s inflatable rings as flotation devices.

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The outboard motors used by the criminal gangs are also unsuitable for the task, according to Border Force officer George Stevenson. The motors are often underpowered and prone to breaking down, despite stickers suggesting higher horsepower.

As weather conditions improve in the coming months, thousands more migrants are expected to attempt the illegal crossing in these dangerously overcrowded and unseaworthy boats. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hopes to begin flights sending asylum seekers to Rwanda by mid-summer, but until then, the perilous crossings are likely to continue.

The escalating violence and use of children as human shields highlight the desperate measures migrants are resorting to in their attempts to reach the UK, as well as the challenges faced by French and British authorities in combating the criminal gangs facilitating these dangerous crossings

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Birminghamgist Staff is a News Reporter, making waves in the UK with insightful and Engaging reporting.

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