‘People smuggler’ snared after 27 migrants died when dingy sank in Channel
A man has been arrested in connection with at least 27 deaths of people attempting to cross the English Channel
A man has been arrested in connection with the deaths of at least 27 migrants who drowned while attempting to cross the English Channel.
Harem Ahmed Abwbaker, 32, was detained by the National Crime Agency (NCA), which was working with French authorities to determine the cause of the deaths.
Abwbaker is accused of being a key member of an organized crime group that planned the migrants’ dinghy crossing.
He was apprehended around 6.45 a.m. on Tuesday (November 29) at an address near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, and has been detained since.
The boat left the French coast in November 2021, but quickly sank, killing all but two passengers on board, including seven women, a 16-year-old boy, and a seven-year-old girl.
Investigators identified 16 Iraqi Kurds, including four women, but victims also included an Iranian Kurd, four Afghan men, three Ethiopians, a Somali woman, and an Egyptian man, according to officials.
Four people are still missing as a result of the incident.
In June of this year, French authorities arrested five suspects in connection with the tragic incident and detained fifteen more.
Abubakar is scheduled to appear in Westminster Magistrates’ Court for extradition proceedings on Wednesday morning (November 30).
Craig Turner, Deputy Director of the NCA, stated: “This is a significant arrest, and it comes as part of the ongoing investigation into the events that led to the tragic deaths in the Channel.
“The person being held today is suspected of playing a key role in the manslaughter of those who died.
“We are determined to do everything we can, in collaboration with our French partners, to bring justice to the families of those who have died, as well as disrupt and dismantle the cruel organized criminal networks involved in people smuggling.”
According to the NCA, Abwbaker will face charges of “French equivalent of manslaughter” as well as facilitating illegal immigration.
“My thoughts remain with the families of all those who tragically lost their lives in this horrifying incident,” said Home Secretary Suella Braverman.
“I thank the NCA and other agencies throughout the UK and France for their tireless efforts to bring justice to the victims and their families by identifying those we believe are responsible and ensuring they face the full force of the law.”