At least 23 dead in attempts to cross

At least 23 people died this Friday, June 24, at the gates of Europe. Early in the morning, 2,000 migrants tried to cross the wall between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla.

According to a Moroccan political source, the victims were killed, either in a storm surge or by falling from the high wall they were trying to climb. This massive attempt to enter one of the two Spanish enclaves is the first since the normalization of relations between Madrid and Rabat in mid-March, after a diplomatic quarrel that lasted for almost a year.

►Read also: Thousands of migrants try to enter the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco

As a general rule, those trying to reach Spain, and therefore Europe, via the Spanish enclave of Melilla, which borders Morocco, do so by trying to climb up the fence. A fence 6 meters high, very wide and bursting with barbed wire everywhere. What makes the experiment very difficult and dangerous, explains our correspondent in Madrid, Francois Musseau.

Cooperation between Morocco and Spain This time, in an unprecedented case, the migrants surprised the police by cutting off one of the net doors leading to Melilla before reaching the detention center. The Civil Guard assured that this attempt was carried out in a very thoughtful, determined and violent manner, despite the use of helicopters.

According to a Spanish source, many more migrants could have passed if the coordination and cooperation with the Moroccan forces had not been excellent, the Moroccan gendarmes could have really stopped most of the candidates for forced passage. The reason ? The excellent relations between Madrid and Rabat, which can be explained by the fact that President Pedro Sanchez supports King Mohamed VI in his Western Sahara-controlled autonomy projects.

Call for “a quick and transparent inquiry” The largest Moroccan human rights organization called for an inquiry on Saturday. “We demand a rapid and transparent investigation,” said Mohamed Amine Abidar, president of the Moroccan Human Rights Association (AMDH) in northern Morocco.

We condemned the policies of the European Union and asked for an open inquiry into everything that happened and for the injured to have access to hospitals. We also asked that Morocco stop playing the role of police for the European Union and respect the rights of migrants.

Ainana Khadidja, Vice President of the Moroccan Human Rights Association

On the Spanish side, Eduardo de Castro, president of the Melilla enclave, the highest political authority in this autonomous city, condemned a “disproportionate response” from Morocco to the attempt to force illegal immigrants to pass.

Pedro Sanchez accuses the “mafia” Calm returned on Saturday to Nador, a city bordering the Spanish enclave, as well as around the high iron fence that separates Moroccan territory from Melilla, according to AFP reporters. There are no traces of migrants in the city. According to Mr. Abidar, “they would have moved for fear of being relocated by the Moroccan authorities”, generally towards the southern part of the country. A witness saw several buses carrying migrants from Nador.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Saturday accused the “human trafficking mafia” of being responsible for the “violent attack” on the border with Morocco in Melilla, during a press conference in Madrid. The head of the Socialist Government considers this to be an attack on Spain’s territorial integrity, reports our correspondent in Madrid, Diane CambonSanchez did not blame Morocco this time for turning a blind eye to migrants’ illegal entry into the Spanish enclave of Melilla. On the contrary, he congratulated both the Spanish and Moroccan police forces for their cooperation in the fight against illegal immigration.

Madrid, which has renewed good diplomatic relations with Morocco, was pleased to see the reduction in migratory pressure from Morocco on its coasts on the peninsula but also on the Canary Islands. On Friday, 500 sub-Saharan Migrants managed to cross the border by skipping barbed wire fences at the risk of their lives.

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