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a survivor recounts the horror night he experienced

Interviewed by the Iraqi channel Rudaw, a young Kurd testifies to the tragedy he survived last week. He accuses the French and British police of having first passed the buck, without intervening to save the castaways.

He is one of two known survivors of the tragedy in the English Channel on Wednesday, November 24, where at least 27 migrants were killed in the sinking of their boat. In an interview with Iraqi channel Rudaw, Mohammed Shekha Ahmad presents himself as a 21-year-old Kurd. The young man delivers the terrible story of that night during which he saw most of his companions in misfortune perish before his eyes, after long hours of fighting against cold and death.

Left Iraqi Kurdistan a little over a month ago, he joined Calais via Belarus, in the hope of reaching the United Kingdom. He then recounts the journey by bus to the ferryman, the departure into the dark and freezing night.

SEE ALSO – Somali survivor accuses British coastguard of ignoring calls after sinking in the English Channel

A while after boarding, the right side of the boat began to deflate: on board, some first tried to pump, while others scooped up the water that was invading the boat. “We stayed in the water all night, we clung to the boat … No one sank during the night, but when the day broke we couldn’t take it anymore, and some gave up livingMohammed said in a slow voice, his eyes lost in the dark.

Where were they at the time of the tragedy? In French or British waters? According to him, the emergency services of the two countries passed the buck by refusing each to intervene, despite repeated calls for help. “We called the French police, we sent them our location, they said: you are in British waters, we cannot intervene. So we called the British police, they sent us back to the French police, without helping us. Two people were on the phone, one to the French, the other to the British»He affirms.

Finally the boat goes adrift, while around Mohammed the other people on board drown one after the other. Fishermen warn the French emergency services, who dispatched three helicopters and several rescue vessels to the scene. An investigation is now underway, and will have to say whether or not the French and British police have indeed received the calls for help emitted by the boat before its passengers are killed in the icy waters of the English Channel.

Also remains an enigma. In its press release, the prosecution wrote: “On November 24, 2021, seventeen men, seven women, two adolescents and a child died due to the sinking of their boat in the Channel. Two survivors, two men of Somali and Iraqi nationality, were hospitalized.But Mohammed says 31 people were on board, according to a count made inside the boat by the migrants. What happened to the last two people?


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