The latest figures from Moroccan authorities indicate the death of 18 migrants due to a stampede and falling from a separating iron fence, when crowds of migrants tried to storm the fence between the Spanish enclave and Moroccan territory.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed on Saturday that the incident in Melilla, in which migrants, mostly Africans, tried to storm the Spanish enclave of Melilla, located on Moroccan territory, constituted an attack on Spanish territory.
At least 18 migrants have died in a stampede and fall from an iron fence when around 2,000 migrants attempted to storm the barbed wire separating the Spanish enclave from Moroccan territory on Friday morning, according to the latest figures from Moroccan authorities. “. The accident injured 140 police officers, five of them seriously.
During a press conference held in Madrid, Sanchez attributed the incident to “a human trafficking mafia. The Spanish security forces repulsed the brutal attack.
The enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta are the only land borders of the European Union with the African continent and regularly witness infiltration attempts by migrants wishing to enter Europe.
Omar Naji of the Moroccan Human Rights Association told AFP that the association had called for “a serious investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of a large number of people.” The Organization for Democratic Action joined this call. this tragedy and do what is necessary for the good of the victims and the police.”
For their part, the International Organization for Migration and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees jointly expressed “deep concern”. They recalled the “need “in all circumstances to prioritize the safety of migrants and refugees” and “the importance of finding durable solutions for people on the move”.
This is the first attempt since relations between Madrid and Rabat returned to normal in mid-March after a diplomatic dispute that lasted about a year. The crisis between the two countries arose because in April 2021, Spain accepted the leader of the Polisario Front, Ibrahim Ghali, for treatment after he contracted COVID-19. It reached its climax in May 2021, when more than ten thousand migrants entered the Ceuta enclave within 24 hours, taking advantage of leniency towards border checks on the Moroccan side.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez put an end to the crisis by declaring Spain’s support for Morocco’s plan to grant autonomy to Western Sahara.
Moroccan King Mohammed VI received the Spanish Prime Minister in early April to sanctify the reconciliation. For Madrid, the main goal of this normalization is to ensure that Rabat “cooperates” in the fight against illegal immigration.
Morocco, where most of the immigrants to Spain come from, has been repeatedly accused in the past of using them as a means of exerting pressure on Spain.