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Migrant girl died from 'bullet' after Belgium police chase

Europe | 2018-05-18 16:45:39
Migrant girl died from 'bullet' after Belgium police chase
A two-year-old girl of Kurdish origin who died after police gave chase to a van carrying illegal migrants in southern Belgium succumbed to a bullet wound, prosecutors said Friday.

The police had opened fire to stop the van after a highway chase between Namur and Maisières, a suburb of the city of Mons.

The child, who was on board, died in the ambulance on her way to hospital.

"The autopsy determined that the cause of death was a bullet that entered the cheek," prosecutor Frederic Bariseau in Mons told AFP on Friday.

"I want to be careful that the bullet could be of police origin. We have to assess the evidence," he added.

Police have opened an internal investigation to determine the circumstances of the girl's death, Bariseau said.

"Tragic event with dramatic consequences. The investigation is ongoing," Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon said Friday on Twitter.

The prosecutor's office initially said on Thursday, at the end of an initial investigation, that the girl had "not died as a result of the police shooting".

In the van intercepted by the police were 30 people including 26 adults, all of Kurdish origin.

Authorities initially evoked a number of possible causes of death, including illness or reckless driving during the chase.

The death caused a stir on Thursday in the migrant community of Grande-Synthe, near Dunkirk in France, as the girl was a member of a family currently housed there, French authorities said.

The Belgium border region near France has become a magnet for migrants, with many heading towards Grande Synthe or Calais to try to board lorries and reach Britain.
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