A busload of terrified schoolchildren survived a harrowing experience after they were attacked by gangs of illegal immigrants. One child reportedly had an epileptic fit after the attack that was the terrifying coda of an otherwise happy school trip. Some children on the bus were as young as 12 years. They were returning from a skiing holiday in Italy.
The attack occurred in Calais – the port city in France where ferries shuttle passengers and vehicles back and forth across the English Channel to the United Kingdom. Calais is also at one end of the Chunnel: the combination rail and vehicle tunnel that goes beneath the Channel and connects the two countries.
It was during the early morning hours of January 11 that the attack occurred.
Migrants are growing increasingly desperate to cross over to Britain, where a burgeoning economy and welfare benefits beckon. Migrants gather in Calais and have dozens of confrontations with police, who have made arrests and quelled riots, rock throwing, and assaults on motorists. Truckers bearing goods between the Continent and Britain have been assaulted and threatened as migrants attempt to hijack their vehicles for the trip to the British Isles. They say that it is only a matter of time before some is killed.
Thirty-five kids from Portree High School, from Scotland’s remote Isle of Skye, were accompanied by nine teachers on the trip. At Calais they were met by violent migrants who pelted the coach with rocks. None of the children were wounded in the attack. Drew Millar, a local councillor on the Isle of Skye, said "My information is that the bus taking the children through Calais was attacked by migrants. There was damage done to the bus and they were able to continue on and were lucky no-one was injured."
Migrants are subjecting truckers and motorists to daily attacks involving knives, hammers, iron bars, baseball bats and firearms.
Port of Calais
Tactics include dropping chunks of concrete on the road leading to the port in an effort to stop or slow down trucks on their way to Britain. The drivers are threatened with assault if they don’t let migrants enter their vehicles. A female trucker told of how gangs of male marauders sought to enter her truck through the passenger door as she arrived in Calais at night. Driver Jessica Lewis was able to reach safety in time during an encounter before Christmas 2015. “The police were nowhere to be seen. It is just very scary, very scary indeed.” Some truckers are demanding the Britain send troops to protect them in Calais.
A member of the UK Independence Party, Mike Hookem, is concerned that elements of the French border police are colluding with human smugglers. He says that the border police "cannot be relied on" to stop illegal immigrants from crossing the English Channel. Hookem has demanded that the British Home Secretary investigation the possible cooperation between smugglers and French border officials.
Hookem visited France in late 2015 to witness the situation at Calais and interview local officials. He said that a senior French police officer told him that there are only 60 officers dedicated to investigating illegal immigration across his entire prefecture, which covers some 12,000 square miles between Paris and the northern coast of France. The official told Hookem that at least five or six people pass through to Britain every night, often using vehicles bearing British license plates.
Here follow two video reports by Kris Kriehling on the migrant camp at Calais, known as The Jungle:
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.