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French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished

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French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP
15:37 CEST+02:00
French authorities said on Wednesday afternoon that all of the migrants have now been cleared out of the Jungle camp in Calais, but media reports said there were still scores of refugees around the area.

French authorities say they've cleared the Calais migrant camp known as "the Jungle," days earlier than planned, but their claims were quickly ridiculed by journalists at the scene.

A local official in the region, Fabienne Buccio, said Wednesday that the mission has been accomplished. 

Buccio said "there are no more migrants in the camp. Our mission has been fulfilled."

She initially said the camp would be cleared by Wednesday evening.

Journalists at the scene reported that police were blocking their attempts to enter the camp to see if it was empty.

Authorities moved fast after migrants set fire to shelters and tents in the camp in northern France before being forced to leave.

Huge clouds of black smoke billowed over the sprawling settlement on Wednesday afternoon.

Scores of people escaped to an area just outside the camp. Police barred them from going back in and they were seen on the road, some carrying backpacks and suitcases.

Around half of the camp's estimated population of 6,000 to 8,000 migrants have been transferred out since Monday, boarding buses to centres around France.

Many fear that hundreds of migrants have simply moved off to other camps or set up news ones and will soon return to the site of the Jungle once the police and journalists and pulled back.

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