Assault by migrants in the Spanish enclave of Melilla: 18 dead and 76 wounded

Source AP

Eighteen African migrants died and 76 were injured after a mass assault on the Spanish exclave of Melilla, North Africa.

According to the Associated Press, a spokesman for the Spanish government said that around 2,000 migrants attempted to cross and 133 managed to cross the border into Spanish territory. Those who managed to pass were taken to a local migrant center where the Spanish authorities are evaluating their cases. Spain applies a rapid deportation procedure to these migrants that we should copy, paro paro, too.

Surrounded by Morocco, Melilla is a territory of five square miles on the eastern side of a rocky peninsula on the Mediterranean Sea. Both Melilla and Ceuta, a similarly located Spanish territory, have been subject to periodic border storms over the years.

The two Spanish autonomous territories represent the only land border for migrants between Africa and the European Union, which makes them attractive targets for those who would otherwise have to try to cross the Mediterranean.

The Spanish exclave of Melilla, with an area of ​​8 square km, borders Morocco (map via
"A large group of [African] Sub-Saharanians … broke through the access gate to the Barrio Chino border checkpoint and entered Melilla by jumping on the roof of the checkpoint," Spanish government authorities said in a statement. They were reportedly all grown men; the escape started at 6:40 am local time.

The rest of the horde was driven back by the efforts of the Spanish Guardia Civil police and Moroccan security forces working on both sides of the border fence. According to Moroccan authorities, the victims occurred when the migrants attempted to scale the iron fence.

In what Al Jazeera called a "violent two-hour skirmish", 49 members of the Spanish Civil Guard were also injured. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said that "human trafficking militias" orchestrated "a violent and well-organized assault".

A Moroccan human rights organization suggested to Reuters that the attempted mass crossing of the border was provoked by Morocco's "intense repression" of migrants and, in particular, by the attempt to evacuate migrant camps in a nearby forest the day before.

In a March assault, Spanish police did not have the same success: nearly 1,000 migrants breached the border in a group said to be made up of more than 3,500 people.

While that was not the case in this case, the Moroccan government has already armed its land border with Spain. As the Associated Press reports:

Morocco loosened controls around Ceuta last year, allowing thousands of migrants to cross into Spain. The move was seen as a retaliation for Spain's decision to allow the leader of the pro-independence movement in Western Sahara to be treated for COVID-19 in a Spanish hospital. The former Spanish Western Sahara is a problem for Spain, given its nature as a disputed land between Morocco and Algeria

Relations between Spain and Morocco, strained by tensions over the status of Western Sahara, improved in March, when Spain backed Morocco's plan to give the region more autonomy. In 2020, the Trump administration recognized Morocco's claim of sovereignty over Western Sahara as part of a counterpart to the normalization of Morocco's relations with Israel.

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This is a machine translation of a post published on Scenari Economici at the URL on Sun, 26 Jun 2022 06:00:12 +0000.