Three arrested in connection with death of five migrants in the English Channel

Five migrants lost their lives off the French coast (stock pic)
Mark White

By Mark White

Published: 24/04/2024

- 14:02

Updated: 26/04/2024

- 08:41

Three men have been arrested in following the deaths of five migrants in the English Channel on Tuesday.

The National Crime Agency has confirmed the men were arrested on "suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration and entering the UK illegally."

The NCA said the arrests were linked to the ongoing investigation into the deaths of the five migrants, including a young girl.

The men, two Sudanese nationals aged 22 and 19, and a South Sudan national, 22, were detained last night and this morning by NCA officers and Immigration Enforcement officers.

They will now be questioned by investigators from the NCA at a police station in Kent.

The arrests come as Home Office official figures confirm more than 400 migrants crossed the Channel illegally yesterday.

Provisional statistics reveal a total of 402 migrants made the crossing in seven small boats by early evening on Tuesday.

One of the dinghies that made it to UK waters was the boat that had been involved in yesterday's tragedy just hours earlier.

That boat had been vastly overcrowded with more than 110 migrants onboard when it got into difficulties a few hundred meters off the beach at Wimereux, north of Boulogne.

GB News revealed yesterday that French authorities were investigating whether a large group of African migrants, who stormed the boat and forced their way onboard, may have caused the tragedy.

The tactic of storming and small boats as they are launching from French beaches has become increasingly common among some groups of migrants who cannot afford to pay people smugglers thousands of pounds for the trip across the Channel.

One security source told GB News: "We're seeing this worrying tactic used increasingly on the beaches of northern France.

"Often, it's mainly African migrants who simply don't have the funds to pay the criminal gangs.

"They hide out of sight and then storm the boats just as they enter the water, and often fight with other migrants and people smugglers to force their way onboard."

The tactic has led to a huge increase in violence among groups of migrants and the criminal gangs who tightly control the lucrative people smuggling operation.

In recent weeks, several migrants have been stabbed, some fatally in incidents on French beaches and in the makeshift camps along the coast.

Yesterday, the large group of African migrants on Wimereux beach used sticks and other weapons to fight off other migrants as they rushed the small boat at the centre of the tragedy.

After multiple people ended up in the water, French rescue services offered to transfer those remaining on the small boat back to France.

Incredibly, 58 of those onboard refused to get off and continued heading for the UK.

GB News obtained exclusive video shot in the middle of the Channel, as the boat made its way slowly towards British waters, escorted by a French patrol vessel.

As it crossed into UK territorial waters, the RNLI lifeboat from Dover was waiting to pick up those onboard, who were then taken to Dover harbour.

GB News filmed as police and Border Force officers photographed, searched and briefly questioned migrants as they disembarked from the lifeboat.

Tuesday's arrivals take the total number of migrants who have made the illegal voyage so far this year to 6,667, compared to 5,546 who arrived in the UK at the same point last year.

The latest crossings came just hours after the Rwanda bill finally passed in Parliament, which paves the way for the Government to send those who arrive by small boat to the east African nation, where their asylum applications will be considered there instead of the UK.

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