The deadly roads into Calais

By Elisa Perrigueur

Since 1999, an estimated 170 migrants desperately seeking a clandestine passage across the Channel to Britain have died in road accidents in and around the port of Calais in northern France, 37 of them since 2015. One former police officer said the situation became so grim “it was humanly impossible to pick up more bodies from the road”. One of the most recent victims was a 22-year-old Eritrean whose mutilated body was found on a motorway last month after he was run over by a truck whose driver fled the scene. Elisa Perrigueur reports from Calais, where she met with Biniam's relatives as they prepared the return of his body home to north-east Africa.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

The temperature was below freezing point on a bleak dawn last month when Biniam’s remains were found near the port of Calais, lying on the smooth tarmac of the A16 motorway that runs parallel to the Channel coast. According to statements given to the police afterwards by those who knew him, Biniam L. (full last name withheld here), a 22-year-old Eritrean, had probably spent all night looking for a truck he could climb onto in the hope of smuggling his way to England.