Belgium stops 80 migrants at French border: police

24th February 2016, Comments 0 comments

Belgian police carrying out car-by-car checks on the French border turned back 80 mainly Afghan migrants on Wednesday, a day after reinstating controls to stop people coming from the "Jungle" camp in Calais, police said.

A huge operation involving around 300 police officers, a helicopter and mounted police was set up to monitor three border crossings and surrounding seaside dunes in the De Panne region bordering France.

"Currently over the past 24 hours we have prevented 80 people, mainly Afghans, from coming into Belgium," police spokesman Peter Dewaele told a press conference at De Panne.

"A further 25 people -- Syrians, Iranians and Afghans -- have been intercepted on Belgian territory. After having been interrogated by the Foreigners' Office, they were immediately driven back to the French border."

Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon announced on Tuesday that his country was reintroducing border controls with France, becoming the latest to do so in the EU's Schengen passport-free travel area.

Jambon said most of the migrants currently in Calais, a port in northern France, eventually wanted to get to Britain and failing that, would use Belgium as a transit route via the port of Zeebrugge.

© 2016 AFP

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