Drama in Spanish enclave of Melilla in Morocco: assessment climbs to twenty-three migrants who died

The victims died by falling from the iron fence that separates the Spanish enclave from Moroccan territory. This attempted entry of 2,000 migrants is the first since the normalization of relations between Spain and Morocco, in March.

Le Monde with AFP

Twenty-three migrants perished during an attempted entry of nearly 2,000 illegal immigrants of African, Friday June 24, in the Spanish enclave of Melilla, in northern Morocco, according to a balance sheet updated published Saturday evening by the local Moroccan authorities.

“Five migrants have died, which brings the balance sheet to twenty-three dead,” a source from the authorities of Nador, stating that “eighteen migrants And a member of the police remain under medical surveillance “. The previous official assessment reported eighteen dead.

Located on the northern coast of Morocco, Melilla and the other Spanish enclave of Ceuta are the only EU land borders on the African continent and are regularly the subject of attempted entry from migrants seeking to join Europe.

tensions between Morocco and Spain

This massive entry attempt started around 06:40 am when a group of “nearly 2,000 migrants (…) began to approach Melilla”, according to the prefecture. “More than 500” of them “from country from sub -Saharan Africa” ​​then forced the entry of the border post with “a shears”, added the prefecture, according to which 133 managed to return.

The victims died “in jostles and falling from the iron fence” which separates the Spanish enclave from Moroccan territory, during “an assault marked by the use of very violent methods on the part migrants, “said the same source.

This attempt at massive entry into one of the two Spanish enclaves is the first since the mid-March normalization of relations between Madrid and Rabat, after a diplomatic quarrel of almost a year. The crisis between the two countries had been provoked by the reception in Spain of the head of the Saharawi independence from the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, in April 2021, to be treated with COVVI-19.

She had the point culminating in May 2021 of more than 10,000 migrants in 24 hours in Ceuta, thanks to a relaxation of the Moroccan side controls. Madrid had then denounced an “assault” on the part of Rabat, who had recalled his ambassador to Spain. Pedro Sanchez put an end to this quarrel 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 it in Rabat to seal this reconciliation.

/Media reports.