The Moroccan authorities have shielded Nador, a province adjoining Melilla, and give no respite to the migrants and asylum seekers who are still hiding in remote areas of their territory after last Friday’s jump, in which at least 23 people died. The security forces have warned the population not to help them, according to residents of the villages at the foot of Mount Gurugú, where migrants usually take refuge. “They told us: ‘Don’t even give them sugar,'” explains Taieb, manager of a grocery store in a district around Nador at the foot of the mountain, one of the wooded locations where Malian, Senegalese or Sudanese camped, the last to arrive. , they comment.
“The Sudanese are gone. Other Africans have stayed, but they are hidden, scared, ”says the shopkeeper. On Friday, Taieb saw a large group of people pass through the door of his business, according to him, heading north, through Gurugú, and bound for the Spanish border. From that excursion, a souvenir staff remained. “With this they raised arms”, he is indignant. According to Taieb, the young people who have starred in the last attempt to enter showed a more aggressive attitude than they are used to seeing in the neighborhood, where many neighbors know by name those who usually take refuge in the area, in precarious camps where there is hardly any shelter. under the shade of scattered trees.
Survivors of last Friday’s entry who are now in Melilla have told EL PAÍS that some of their acquaintances have arrived in Juribga, a city in the center of the country 127 kilometers from Casablanca and almost 600 kilometers from Nador. Other Sudanese compatriots, some wounded, would have decided to leave Nador for Casablanca due to the difficulties of staying in the capital of the province bordering Melilla, where they could not even get medicine to treat the injuries. Access to information on the situation of the wounded and deceased is extremely difficult. For migrants, day-to-day life is almost impossible, separated from urban centers for fear of being detained. Most, including those who did not participate in the attempted entry, have fled Nador or gone into hiding for fear of reprisals.
The same Friday, and late in the afternoon, at least 15 buses collapsed the main street of Barrio Chino, a district of the border municipality of Beni Enzar. From inside, faces covered by parasols, some of the detained migrants greeted. At eight in the afternoon, Moroccan time (one more hour on the Peninsula), the last buses with young people waiting were still at the scene. Up to 39 of them were taken to the Nador police station to testify. They finally appeared before the judge on Monday, accused of, among other crimes, setting fire to the forest they were in, a tactic often used by Moroccan forces for years. The rest, between 500 and 700 people, have been transferred out of the area, although where has not been disclosed.
The same Thursday night, before the jump occurred, Moroccan forces went to the area to dismantle the settlements. It is a common tactic that the Moroccan Association for Human Rights has been denouncing for years. Survivors in Morocco and Melilla have said that they felt compelled to try to enter after several consecutive raids in which the migrants stood up to the Moroccan security forces, which caused an increase in violence on both sides with a high number of wounded, also among Moroccans.
Abderrahim, a resident of the Ouiksane area, witnessed the clashes that took place on Thursday. “In the entire mount there was a row, along the entire edge of the mount, of about 300 ″, he recalls. “There they broke a police car,” he says. According to this shopkeeper, accustomed to selling food to migrants and distributing the aid that comes from the entire neighborhood, the meeting was more than prepared. “The police came and they did not move. They threw stones at them, then the police entered from another side and they regrouped and faced them; after that, when the Moroccans came back, they were gone, they had climbed Gurugú”, he affirms.
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“Just seeing them [a los subsaharianos]I thought there would be a soldier”, recounts Abderrahim. “It is impossible that they were organized that well, there had to be some military refugee.” This neighbor has spent years serving those who come to his business “from morning to night.” In recent weeks, he has observed increased pressure from the Moroccan authorities on migrants and asylum seekers who are often in the area. “We’ve never had any problems,” he says. “Other times they have caught [las autoridades] some, but then they let them go.”
The attempt to enter Melilla
Since Thursday afternoon, Moroccan security forces have launched several raids at different points at the foot of Mount Gurugú and in other areas around Nador where migrants usually take refuge. According to witnesses and survivors in Melilla, the migrants, most of them Sudanese and gathered in scattered groups of hundreds, stood up to the agents, who withdrew and returned later with greater violence.
In a second raid, the migrants regrouped in the bush and clashed with Moroccan security forces, who razed the camps. In Nador, 39 detainees have testified before a judge, accused of setting fire to the mountain, however, this is a common tactic used by Moroccan forces in these raids. At dawn and with no refuge options, up to 1,700 people decide to approach Melilla to cross the border perimeter. Unlike the more common jumps to the fence, this attempted entry occurs through the Chinatown border crossing, closed since 2020 and previously used for the so-called portage, irregular trade.
Inside the facilities of the crossing, whose door the migrants forced, dozens of people were trapped, which could cause the death of the 23 deceased recognized by Morocco. Others managed to climb the fence that surrounds the border area, knocking it down; or climb to the roof of the sentry box and climb the fence to finally jump to Melilla.
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