Update from the Border: At least 5 dead

In these past days, the situation at the European-Moroccan border is continuously getting worse.

At least five people have died last Sunday: Official figures state that 4 Subsaharan migrants drowned while attempting to swim to Ceuta (a local NGO cites 8 deaths, 4 confirmed and 4 disappeared and mentions a zodiac which was not rescued). The same day one Moroccan migrant choked to death in the trunk of his brother’s car, on the ferry to Almeria.

We are sad and enraged that fortress Europe has killed another five people, and harmed many more!

Every night, people are trying to cross, searching for a better life, and are met with cruel repression. The Moroccan authorities have intensified their control measures, not only to intercept migrants but also the summer drug business season. In the Strait of Gibraltar, the Moroccans now use at least two more motorized vessels at high speed which stop migrants and keep them at bay until the Navy arrives and pushes them back.They name it a “rescue operation”, for us it means “return operation”.
Every day there are boats which try to cross the mediterranean. Every day they are migrants who reach Spanish territory and others are pushed back by the Moroccan Navy.

Example from watchthemed about the rescue operations :

“On 01/08 we were alerted to a second vessel in distress in the Western Med. At about 4.30pm a woman called us who told us about a vessel that had left between 2-3am in the morning. About half an hour later we found out that there were 11 men on board who had left from Cap Spartel. The contact person told us that they needed help urgently as they had problems with their vessel. Following her account the Moroccan Navy had even been informed but they did not want to conduct a rescue operation. We passed these obtained information on to Salvamento Maritimo. In the evening, the contact person informed us that they had been intercepted by the Moroccan Navy. Later on we were able to reach the travellers directly via WhatsApp. They said that, for a long time,they had been ignored by both Spanish and Moroccan coastguards despite a clear distress situation.
In the late evening we were contacted by a person who had been on a vessel that was intercepted by the Moroccan Navy around midday. He told us that they were transported to a police station and then placed in a car. When he called us he was still in the car with 12 other people who were scared and exhausted from their attempt to cross the sea. A few minutes later we learned from them that they had been left out behind Cassiago forest” (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/190).

There was another attack at the fences of Melilla on 03/08. While some Melilla newspaper are cruelly celebrating “3 months free of migrants’ strikes”, the Guardia Civil gave some wrong numbers about the force of yesterday’s attack,to give the impression of a “storm” of migrants. The official number of 400 is exaggerated, different sources tell us that it was more between 50 and 100 people who attacked, all in all there are not more than 150 people left in the mountains of Gourougou. While some people ended up wounded, in hospital, around 50 were deported to Fes. Around Nador, many of the people have left to other cities, some are staying in the forest of Zoutiya (still heavily controlled by the police), and others are thinking of going to Libya.

Spirits are low, but people keep trying; despite the war that the European Union is waging against them! Our solidarity is with them!


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