Spanish police see the hand of mafias directing migrants on Friday in Melilla

Several Moroccan gendarmes take turns in the Nador morgue guarding part of the corpses they took out of the mousetrap into which the Chinatown border post became on Friday, supposedly trying to make sure that no other eye counts them. The actual death toll in the funnel that formed around the control building is still a matter of discussion between the Moroccan Government (da 23) and human rights organizations that rise to more than 30.

In the Ministry of the Interior they review the images of the tragedy, suspecting – as well as Melilla sources from the Civil Guard – that the crowd of sub-Saharan migrants was guided towards the door of the border post by Moroccan pawns of immigration mafias. He would be credited with some changes of direction of the crowd, heading to the chosen point until meeting with overwhelmed gendarmerie riot police and carrying out rough, if not brutal, charges with batons and gases.

Agents from the armed institute in Melilla already told this newspaper that, before Friday’s avalanche, Moroccan civilians from Nador had surreptitiously examined the weak points of the border fence.

Spanish police sources also drive in Madrid unofficial information about some possible fatality among Moroccan policemen, which Rabat has categorically denied. The data on the massacre of the fence that separates Nador from Melilla are unreliable even four days later, when the Moroccan prosecutor’s office has filed charges against thirty detainees, and the Spanish prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation.

A differential element of the attacks on the fence proves that someone directs them, according to Interior experts on illegal immigration: until last March, the assaults reached the fence and were distributed through it, making police action difficult due to dispersion. “Now it’s different: many people are concentrated against a single pointmaking police action difficult due to their large number,” explains one of these sources.

The point at which the massacre took place -due to a stampede after a charge by the gendarmes or due to a crowding of those who tried to cross into Spain is what is still not known for sure- is “the worst border crossing in Spain -says a veteran of the documentation work of the Police in Melilla-. He is leaning towards the Spanish side, on a slope, with difficult reversal because it is very narrow”. In that place, he recalls, the death of a porter, Safia Azizi, Moroccan lawyer who earned her living transporting goods on her back. It was in January 2009; a rush of people in the hallway crushed her.

In the Spanish ministry, no one rules out that waves against the fence will be repeated in the next two months, because there is only one section of the fence left without the inverted comb, and that is Chinatown. Those pieces of metal bent in a curve towards Morocco prevent climbing, for now much more than the old and bloody concertinas.

Retained in the CETI

The situation of isolation in which 133 migrants who managed to cross into Spanish territory last Friday find themselves is reason for a request filed with the Ministry of Inclusion by three associations for the defense of human rights. The request denounces before the Secretary of State for Migration that the migrants are “arbitrarily detained in some tents that, like dormitories, are installed inside the CETI, where they must remain under the custody of security guards from the CETI, without the possibility of communicate freely with their friends or relatives, without free access to a mobile phone or other communication devices and without the possibility of wandering freely either inside the CETI or in the City of Melilla”.

The Madrid Neighborhood Coordinator -which already played a key role in stopping the return of minors in Ceuta last summer-, the religious Jesuit Migrant Service and the Guem Dodou Association of Melilla urge the government to allow free movement through the city ​​at 133, currently confined in some dependencies of the CETI, the Center for Temporary Immigrant Stay, in Melilla. According to the complainants, in addition to being isolated, the migrants are held incommunicado and cannot really know what has happened.

The Government Delegation has argued that this is a isolation in prevention of the spread of CovidIn other words, a quarantine. And the leader of Guem Dodou David Melian rejects the argument: “They are applying anticovid isolation as a pretext to keep them detained, when even the toilets who have tested positive can go to work.”

The situation in which the detainees find themselves is “very delicate,” says Melian. who care for them they do not know if they will have lost a relative or personal friend in the massacre of the border post; They don’t either, “and they’ll take a psychological hit when they come out and find out.”

The denouncing associations will wait for the legal period -ten days- for a response from the Government to arrive, which has not yet been produced, “but it is to be expected that Inclusion respects the law and release them immediately,” says David Melian.

Camp battle

The events of last Friday morning on the Moroccan side of the fence in Melilla’s Chinatown have shocked also to the members of the different city ​​police officers. But, being in such a hot spot on the border, none of its representatives enters the field of criticism of the Moroccan gendarmes and their actions in the face of the avalanche.

The greatest general reason for demoralization in the area is that “they have always acted in accordance with the law, but the agents feel abandoned and without human and material resources, such as new vehicles or helmets,” he says. Jamal Al-Lalleader in Melilla of the Unified Association of Civil Guards (AUGC).

Faced with increasingly numerous human waves on the fence, Al-Lal asks for “more personnel, and to think about create a GRS unit in Ceuta and Melilla, like those deployed in other autonomous communities”. The unit to which he refers is the Security Reserve Group, or GRS, the riot police of the Civil Guard. “A single life lost is already a great misfortune, but we have also observed extreme violence – he comments on the wave towards the fence last Friday -. The assaults are becoming more violent. Fifty guards have been injured. The civil guards cannot be human shields in the face of the immigration problem.”

All police unions demand the declaration of Melilla and Ceuta as special zones, with their salary supplement for agents due to dangerousness.

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From the Unified Police Union (SUP), its general secretary in Melilla, Jesus Ruizinsisted on requesting “the return to Morocco of those who have managed to enter Melilla”, he says, and adds: “We want the Law to be complied with. And the Immigration Law is law, as much law as all other laws”.

These days, Ruiz thinks about the turnstile at the Chinatown border post, emphasizing the narrowness and dangerous lateral incline of that point, which he knows well. “In terms of immigration, Melilla is one of the worst places in the world,” he says. In his opinion, no one can guarantee today that more misfortunes will not occur: “A huge problem cannot be left only in the hands of those who guard the fence. The police management of immigration cannot be a pitched battle.”

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