AFP – General Spain: Dead and wounded in major attempt to enter Melilla territory 24/06/2022 13:13

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Five migrants were killed and 76 injured, 13 seriously, while attempting to enter Spain’s territory of Melilla in North Africa.

Officials said in a statement sent to AFP, 140 police officers were also injured, with five seriously injured.

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“About 2,000 migrants started approaching Melilla at 6.40 am,” said a spokesperson for the Spanish province.

Two hours later, he added, “More than 500 sub-Saharan men began to enter the city after breaking through the gate of the border checkpoint, but only 133 managed to reach it. All men.”

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In the statement made by the Government Delegation, it was emphasized that the action took place “despite the extensive apparatus of Moroccan forces cooperating actively and in coordination with the security forces of the Spanish State”.

The delegation noted that the entry took place “despite the extensive apparatus of Moroccan forces actively cooperating” with the Spanish forces.

“On behalf of the Spanish Government, we thank you for the extraordinary cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco, which has shown the need to have the best relationship (…) in the fight against irregular migration,” the Spanish President said. Government Pedro Sanchez.

Omar Naji of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) told AFP on Thursday night there were clashes between migrants and security forces on the Moroccan side of the border.

Hassani Hospital in Nador, near Melilla, reported that several police officers and some immigrants were hospitalized.

Previous attempts of mass invasion of Spain by one of Spain’s North African regions (Ceuta and Melilla) had taken place in March, before the dissolution of Spanish-Moroccan relations.

The diplomatic crisis between the two countries began after Spain took the leader of the Saharawi separatists, Brahim Ghali of the Polisario Front, for Covid-19 treatment at a hospital in the country in April 2021.

The Moroccan government claims the diplomatic crisis has ended as the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, abandoned its historic neutrality between the Saharan separatists and Rabat to support Spain’s plan to grant autonomy to the region.

The change in stance led to much criticism of the government of Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. Some opposition politicians interpreted this as a concession to Rabat to stop the arrival of immigrants.

The worst moment of the crisis between the countries came in May 2021, when Moroccan authorities loosened controls and about 10,000 migrants entered Ceuta.

Although Madrid and Rabat have adjusted relations, the Spanish head of government warned that the country “will not tolerate the tragedy of irregular migration being used as a weapon of repression”.

The improvement of relations with Morocco, which is the exit platform for most undocumented immigrants who come to the shores of Spain, has led to a decrease in arrivals.

According to the Spanish Ministry of Interior, in April, the first month of a bilateral return to normalcy, the number of migrants off the coast of the Spanish Canary Islands was 70 percent lower than in February.

Madrid, which will host the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit next week from 28-30 June, will, together with its allies, discuss the issue of “hybrid” as a threat, irregular migration as a threat, as a means of pressure between countries.

The normalization of relations between Rabat and Madrid allowed the border crossings between Morocco, Ceuta and Melilla to reopen in May. The initiative took place before Sánchez’s visit to Rabat.

Ceuta and Melilla is the only land border between the EU and the African continent. Thousands of sub-Saharan immigrants dream of reaching their settlements as the first step to their presence in Europe.

24.06.2022 13:13

source: Noticias

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