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London Evening Standard - 2021-11-25

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We must break smuggler network says politician, as fifth suspect arrested

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Peter Allen in Paris

A FIFTH man has been arrested in connection with the sinking of the boat in the English Channel that killed at least 27 migrants, France’s interior minister said today. Four suspected people smugglers were held yesterday in the aftermath of the incident, while Gérald Darmanin revealed another arrest had taken place last night. He told RTL radio station the fifth suspect had a “German licence plate” and suggested the man had “bought Zodiacs [dinghies] in Germany.” Political opponents supported him in calling for a clampdown. Xavier Bertrand, who hopes to stand as the Republicans’ presidential candidate, tweeted: “Deep emotion and anger after the sinking of a boat in Calais... we must further strengthen the means to break the networks of smugglers, these criminals who exploit poverty.” The arrest came as damning headlines dominated France’s media today as the country faced up to the worst migrant tragedy on home territory in its history. “They were men, women, children, human,” wrote Le Monde. “It is an unprecedented tragedy that unfolded off Calais.” Liberation ran the headline: “In Calais — a tragedy without parallel.” The chairman of the ports of Calais and Boulogne, Jean-Marc Puissesseau, told BBC Breakfast he was “very, very, very sad” about the deaths, adding: “We thought it would happen one day because these people are taking such an enormous risk to get to your country.” Mr Puissesseau expressed hope the “enormous problem” of illegal migration via the Channel could be solved by the UK working with European authorities. He suggested a “European enterprise” which would establish a centre where migrants would be taken, told they would not be able to reach England and provided with further information. He said: “I hope Europe and your Government — Mr Boris Johnson — they will discuss positively [what to do next].” A crisis meeting was meanwhile taking place at the interior ministry in Paris to find answers.

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