Human rights organizations call for probe into migrants’ deaths during Melilla crossing

Morocco's Interior Ministry, Pedro Sánchez

At least 18 migrants died near Melilla border. Spanish Prime Minister blames traffickers.

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The Facts

At least 18 were killed with many more injured last week when a group of African migrants attempted to climb a border fence between Morocco and Melilla (a Spanish enclave in North Africa).
Moroccan authorities claimed that the individuals had died during a “stampede” of people trying to scale the iron fence. Morocco’s Interior Ministry announced that 76 civilians and 140 Moroccan security officers had been injured in the incident.
On Saturday, 2M TV, Morocco’s majority-owned television network, reported that 18 individuals had died. They later announced that the death toll had risen to 23. Meanwhile, the Moroccan Human Rights Association asserted that 27 people had been killed.
Human rights organizations in Morocco and Spain have called for both countries to investigate the migrants’ deaths. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has blamed human traffickers for the incident.
Sánchez referred to the incident as a”violent assault” and an “attack on (Spain’s) territorial integrity,” adding, “If there is anyone responsible for everything that appears to have taken place at that border, it is the mafias that traffic in human beings.”

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