Latest: Police reinforcements sent to Calais after 22 hurt in migrant clashes

Police reinforcements have arrived in the French port city of Calais after clashes among migrants left 22 people injured, with the government warning of more potential violence among those seeking to cross into the UK.

Latest: Police reinforcements sent to Calais after 22 hurt in migrant clashes

Update 12.15pm: Police reinforcements have arrived in the French port city of Calais after clashes among migrants left 22 people injured, with the government warning of more potential violence among those seeking to cross into the UK.

Interior minister Gerard Collomb said five of the victims were injured by gunfire in yesterday's fighting. Speaking in Calais, he blamed migrant traffickers and "totally organised" gangs for the violence.

Migrants clash as fighting broke out in Calais, France. Pic: Nord Littoral via AP

Migrants clash as fighting broke out in Calais, France. Pic: Nord Littoral via AP

Police are seeking a shooting suspect but have made no arrests, he said.

Firearms are rare among migrants, and the shootings represent the most serious clash in recent times among migrants around Calais.

Two extra police units are arriving today, Mr Collomb said.

He added that while in the past such violence was spontaneous, it appears to be growing more organised.

He said local authorities have dismantled six migrant trafficking networks already this year, compared to 20 in all of 2017.

The prefecture of the Pas-de-Calais region said the gunfire was the culmination of a showdown between Afghan and Eritrean migrants, fighting each other with sticks and stones, after a meal distribution near the Calais hospital.

Migrants avail of coffee and food provided by activists. Pic: AP Photo/Michel Spingler

Migrants avail of coffee and food provided by activists. Pic: AP Photo/Michel Spingler

In a second confrontation, up to 200 Eritrean migrants cornered 30 Afghans near the former site of a makeshift migrant camp that housed thousands of people before it was evacuated and destroyed in 2016.

Mr Collomb said the government will start meal distribution to migrants outside Calais in the coming two weeks, instead of leaving it to aid groups, in an effort to stop feeding spots from becoming fixed nodes of tension.

Insisting that "very few" people successfully sneak across to Britain, Mr Collomb said: "If you want to go to Britain, you shouldn't go to Calais."

Mr Collomb also called for long-term solutions to speed up asylum decisions and deport economic migrants with no right to refugee status.

Tensions have been high in Calais since the camp was destroyed.

More than 1,130 French security forces have been posted in Calais to keep migrants out of the port and Eurotunnel and to stop them from setting up camps.

Migrants, background, watch French gendarmes patrolling on the road leading to the port in Calais. Pic: AP Photo/Michel Spingler

Migrants, background, watch French gendarmes patrolling on the road leading to the port in Calais. Pic: AP Photo/Michel Spingler

Earlier: Five shot during violent clashes between migrants in Calais

French police reinforcements have been sent to Calais after clashes among migrants left 22 people injured during a worrying spike in violence.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told reporters in Calais that five of the victims were injured by gunfire in Thursday's fighting, blaming "totally organised" gangs.

Police are seeking a shooting suspect but have made no arrests.

Mr Collomb said two extra police units were en route and warned of growing tensions in Calais, where migrants converge in the hope of crossing to Britain.

Authorities said that Afghan and Eritrean migrants had been fighting with sticks and stones after meals were distributed before the shots were fired. Firearms are rare among migrants.

The government closed a vast Calais migrant camp known as the Jungle in 2016.

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