London: A man believed to be involved in smuggling migrants across the English Channel from France is in critical condition in the hospital after being shot.
The man, thought to be Kurdish and in his 30s, is believed to have been attacked as he slept at the Loon-Plage migrant camp in northern France as part of a gang dispute.
Police refused to confirm what motivated the attack, but a source told The Times that a rival gang, whose leader was recently released from prison, might be attempting to retake lost turf.
“He (the released gang member) wants to get back control because when he was in prison another mafia took control,” the source said.
Local prosecutor Sebastien Pieve told The Times: “The inquiry is especially complicated as it always is when undocumented people are involved and there are people smugglers in the equation. It is complicated to gain cooperation from people who are not legally here.”
The trade in people trafficking to the UK has become especially lucrative, with just under 50,000 people making the journey across the English Channel in small boats in 2022.
It is estimated smugglers made around £183 million ($220 million) from such crossings last year, with the average price per person per journey coming in at around £3,500.
With the uptick in crossings and profits, there has also been an increase in violence between gangs facilitating the journeys.
In May 2022, an Iraqi man was killed in a fight in one camp, and several Somali men were badly injured in another brawl at the camp in Loon-Plage.