KRG to repatriate bodies of 16 migrants dead in Channel tragedy

A life jacket is left after a group of migrants got on an inflatable dinghy, to leave the coast of northern France and to cross the English Channel, near Wimereux, France, November 24, 2021. (Reuters photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will repatriate bodies of 16 migrants who drowned last month in a Channel boat accident, a spokesman said on Monday.

Last week, Paris prosecutor said there were 17 men and seven women as well as a 16-year-old teenager and a child aged seven among the deceased migrants.

Sixteen of the victims were people from the Kurdistan Region, four were Afghan men, France 24 reported. There were three Ethiopians, a Somalian woman, an Iranian and an Egyptian man.

KRG spokesman said bodies of the 16 migrants would be repatriated to the Kurdistan Region on Friday through Erbil international airport.

“This was delayed for a month due to the identification process,” he added.

The KRG spokesman said smugglers who take advantage of the Region’s citizens would not escape justice and would be pursued by the authorities.

AFP reported that French investigators were still trying to establish a clearer picture of what happened during the disaster.

They are investigating reports the passengers had telephoned both French and British emergency services, appealing for help when the vessel began sinking, the news agency said.

The accident was the most deadly involving a migrant boat in the Channel and cast a spotlight on the increasing number of desperate people seeking to cross the narrow waterway between France and England.

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