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Morocco: 18 migrants are killed during a massive attempt to enter Melilla

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Published on: 06/25/2022 – 08:26 At least 18 migrants of African origin died during an attempt on Friday morning by nearly 2,000 of them to enter the Spanish enclave of Melilla, in the northern Morocco, the umpteenth tragedy of migration at the gates of the European Union. Eighteen migrants died as they tried to enter the Spanish enclave of Melilla, on the northern coast of Morocco, and when clashes broke out with border guards, authorities announced on Friday (June 24th). Moroccans. Nearly 2,000 migrants attempted to enter Spanish territory by storming a fence. Clashes then broke out with the security forces, announced the Moroccan and Spanish authorities, adding that a hundred people had managed to enter the enclave. iron fence” which separates the Spanish enclave from Moroccan territory, during “an assault marked by the use of very violent methods on the part of migrants”, a source from the authorities of the province of Nador. Contacted by AFP, the Spanish Civil Guard, which monitors the other side of the fence, assured that it had no information on this tragedy, referring to Morocco. Very early Saturday morning, calm reigned in Nador, a Moroccan city bordering Melilla, as well as on the border of the Spanish enclave, without police deployment. Located on the northern coast of Morocco, Melilla and the other Spanish enclave of Ceuta are the EU’s only land borders on the African continent and are regularly subject to attempted entry by migrants seeking to reach the ‘Europe.” A very heavy toll “This massive entry attempt began around 6:40 a.m. when a group of “nearly 2,000 migrants (…) began to approach Melilla”, according to the prefecture. “More than 500” of them “from sub-Saharan African countries” then forced entry to the border post with “shears”, added the prefecture, according to which 133 managed to return. for an EU summit, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez denounced a “violent assault” fomented by “mafias that traffic in human beings”.Omar Naji, of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights ( AMDH), confirmed to AFP that “clashes” had taken place overnight from Thursday to Friday between migrants and Moroccan agents. Spanish media had already reported violence in recent days between illegal immigrants and police in the border area of ​​Melilla. The AMDH section in Nador called for the opening of “a serious investigation to determine the circumstances of this very heavy” which shows that “the migration policies followed are deadly with borders and barriers that kill”. since the normalization in mid-March of relations between Madrid and Rabat, after a diplomatic quarrel of almost a year. The crisis between the two countries had been caused by the reception in Spain of the leader of the Sahrawi separatists of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, in April 2021, to be treated there for Covid-19. May 2021 of more than 10,000 migrants in 24 hours in Ceuta, thanks to a relaxation of controls on the Moroccan side. Madrid then denounced an “aggression” on the part of Rabat, which recalled its ambassador to Spain. Pedro Sanchez put an end to this estrangement by publicly supporting the Moroccan autonomy plan for Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony controlled at 80 % by Rabat but claimed by the Polisario, supported by Algeria. In early April, King Mohammed VI received him in Rabat to seal this reconciliation. For Madrid, this normalization has the main purpose of ensuring Rabat’s “cooperation” in controlling illegal immigration. Much criticized internally for his reversal on the Sahara, Pedro Sanchez welcomed Friday the “extraordinary cooperation” of Rabat in migration matters which demonstrates, according to him, “the need to have the best of relations”. Just before this reconciliation, Melilla had been the scene in early March of several forced passage attempts, including the largest ever recorded in this enclave, with some 2,500 migrants. Nearly 500 had arrived that day. Morocco, from where most of the migrants to Spain leave, has been regularly accused in the past of using them as a means of pressure on Spain. Calming relations with Morocco have led to a recent drop in arrivals to Spain. According to the Interior Ministry, the number of migrants arriving in the Spanish Canary Islands in April, the first month following normalization, was 70% lower than in February. With AFP and Reuters

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