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Around 2000 African migrants, from a number of unidentified African countries, tried last Friday 24th June 2022, to cross the borders between Northern Morocco with the Spanish city of Melilla, which is a Spanish Enclave under Madrid’s sovereignty since 1491.
Citizens and Media present on the ground filmed atrocious videos showing how the Moroccan police was violently handling the situation, which turned out to be a terrible massacre, full of images of extreme violence, inhumane treatment, and terrible detention scenes that shocked everyone, except maybe the Moroccan authorities and their allies, the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, who commented on the event saying that Morocco is dealing in an extraordinary and efficient way with the African migration “invasion”.
The Spanish government in fact doesn’t miss an opportunity to emphasise that Morocco is its strategic partner in the migration policy, and is pushing the European Union to support Morocco in fortifying and equipping its police forces to “control” and stop African migration to Europe.
Morocco received some 343 million Euros since 2014 from the EU. Continued cooperation on migration could reportedly see that figure rise to as much as 3.5 billion Euros for the period between 2020 and 2027 as Reporters without Borders indicated in an Analysis in 2021.
And for this Morocco is deploying such atrocious measures against migrants to showcase, to its European allies, how seriously it is taking the issue.
The EU is in fact funding an 18 Million Euros project to fortify fences around the two Spanish Enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla to better block migrants, but of course, they never say what this means in human lives losses, tragedies, and desperation.Terrible video of hundreds African migrants ill-treated and detained in inhumane detention conditions after the Moroccan police raid on Friday 24 June 2022
The whole issue is really disturbing not only because of the terrible videos and stories of ill-treatment, sexual abuse, and killings and torture of the poor victims; it is in fact worrying because of Morocco, and its King, are supposedly the African Union Champion on Migration!
Big question marks would therefore arise from this fact. Why are these acts of systematic violence against migrants, which have been repeated by the Moroccan authorities many times during the last two decades at least, tolerated and even funded by the EU, accepted or ignored by the AU, and most shockingly never brought to the table by the countries of these victims themselves?
Is what the Champion of the AU on Migration committing against African and even Moroccan migrants the way and strategy of the African Union on migration? Because this accomplice’s silence from the AU, and the poor and useless Tweets issued by the AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, who couldn’t even denounce and condemn these acts, cannot be accepted or tolerated.
The problem is that none is asking the right questions that should be asked here. One of these is: How could these thousands of migrants reach Morocco in the first place? Aren’t all the borders of Morocco closed, at least since 2019?Terrible video of hundreds African migrants ill-treated and detained in inhumane detention conditions after the Moroccan police raid on Friday 24 June 2022
One should recall here that the Moroccan borders with Algeria are totally closed since 1994, while Morocco is at war with the Western Sahara army, so the southern borders of Morocco are a war zone. And therefore, the only access these migrants must have had, or at least their majority must have been through air flights.
In fact, it is reported that the Moroccan airlines and Moroccan consulates are providing thousands of African citizens, especially from countries covered by the Moroccan Airlines with free access to the country.
Many young Africans find it an opportunity to fly to Morocco may be to get a job or to be close to the European borders and try to cross to the Promised Land. But once they reach Morocco, another reality unveils itself before their eyes.
First, Morocco is facing huge economic problems, unemployment is rocking high, and poverty and lack of opportunities is widespread. The Moroccan authorities seem to be cognisant of the issue and are tolerating the presence of thousands of African migrants in makeshift villages, living in unbelievable poverty and terrible conditions.
But not for nothing, in fact whenever the political relations of Morocco are not that good with its neighbours, we suddenly hear about massive attempts of migration, waves of migrants from many nationalities, including Moroccans, cross the borders, and immediately after, the Spanish and the EU starts responding favourably to the demands of Rabat, including by giving millions in aid, expressing some sort of support to the Moroccan claims on Western Sahara, as Spain lately did a few months ago, or simply praising Morocco as a model and a strategic ally.
Morocco is simply using African migrants, and even Moroccan migrants, weaponising them against Spain and Europe. It has done that last April 2021, when it opened the path to around 8000 migrants to cross the borders to Ceuta and Melilla in retaliation of Spain for having accepted Saharawi President, Brahim Ghali in hospital for a Covid case. Morocco never shied out declaring that it is doing this to force Madrid to behave.
The migration policy of Morocco and the violence with which it is treating African citizens on its soil is worthy of the most violent regimes humanity has known before.
The African Union response has always been weak if even expressed, and should totally change because we cannot as Africans tolerate such terrible acts from an African State, and worse from the AU Champion on Migration.
The AU must assume its responsibility and call Morocco to order not only on this migration issue but on all its violations of the African Union’s Constitutive Act, illegal occupation of parts of the Saharawi Republic, shameful attempts to force the admission of Israel as an Observer Member of the AU and for all its previous policies that aim at destroying the African Union from inside.
It is also shameful to see many African states standing in silence in front of these terrible acts, and even worse is the lack of reaction from African civil societies as if these kids who died and who will be buried by Moroccan police unaccounted for are not our kids and our blood.