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Sudanese teen found dead on French beach

August 19, 2020

Police said the boy was bound for the UK when the rubber boat he was sharing with a friend ran into trouble. The French citizenship minister has confirmed the teenager was Sudanese.

A border patrol boat in Kent, England in 2019
Image: picture-alliance/G. Fuller

A 16-year-old Sudanese boy was found dead on a beach in northern France on Wednesday, France's citizenship minister has said.

Marlene Schiappa confirmed on Twitter that it was with "immense sadness a 16-year-old Sudanese migrant who disappeared at sea last night was found dead on Sangatte beach this morning."

Schiappa also promised a greater mobilization against "traffickers who profit from human misery."

French police said the teenager drowned while trying to cross the English Channel with a friend in a small rubber boat. 

The companion, who was rescued on Tuesday night, said the pair's inflatable vessel ran into trouble while trying to make their way to Britain.

British Interior Minister Priti Patel tweeted: "This horrendous incident serves as a brutal reminder of the abhorrent criminal gangs and people smugglers who exploit vulnerable people."

Both Britain and France stated last week that the two countries would work "at pace" to finalize a way of shutting down a migrant routeacross one of the world's busiest shipping routes.

Efforts by migrants to cross the Channel have increased sharply this year. Since January 1, French authorities have recorded some 350 attempts or crossings involving more than 4,000 migrants, compared with 203 attempts and 2,294 migrants for the whole of 2019.

jsi/stb (with AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)