Two-year-old Iraqi Kurdish girl dies of gunshot wound during police chase

The death of two-year-old Iraqi-Kurdish girl Mawada is the latest casualty of irregular migration.

On the morning of 17 May, the Belgian police noticed a suspicious van near the town of Mons, close to the border of Belgium and France. After a police chase between Namur and Maisieres, police officers opened fire on the van in an attempt to make it stop.

The van, which was being driven by alleged smugglers, hit another car and the driver jumped out to avoid being caught. The remaining occupants of the vehicle, who were 30 migrants of Kurdish origin, have been taken into custody to be interviewed by police.

The initial report from the emergency services mistakenly indicated that an injury to the head was the cause of the death, however, prosecutor Frederic Bariseau told the AFP news agency that, “the autopsy determined the cause of death was a bullet that entered the cheek.” Mawda was pronounced dead in the ambulance on the way to a nearby hospital. Her parents and her three-year-old brother were in the back of the van at time of incident, none of whom were injured.

The Belgian rules of engagement for police are very strict. They are only allowed to open fire if they are in danger. Police have opened an internal investigation to determine how the girl died, including whether there were guns in the van. It took 15 police cars and about 30 police officers to end the chase.

It is reported that the Belgian border with France is one of the locations that attract migrants in a hope to reach Britain by being smuggled aboard trucks.

TMP – 23/05/2018

Photo caption: Mawada, the 2-year-old Iraqi-Kurdish girl who was shot dead.