Video footage has emerged on social media to provide graphic images of the widely reported deaths of African migrants who attempted to cross the border from Morocco into Spain over the weekend.
The reported death toll in what’s being described as a Spanish enclave in the North African city of Melilla has varied between 18 and 23 people, but the videos circulating online suggest those numbers are exponentially low as the footage reportedly filmed on Friday shows dozens and dozens of bodies of apparent Africans piled on top of one another in a sprawling dirt field. The footage also shows the barbaric treatment of the migrants at the hands of local authorities.
One video that was tweeted by Southern African Eye, which describes itself as “an independent news network,” posted footage showing “Moroccan police in full riot gear pelting migrants with rocks as they attempt to jump the Spanish border fence.” The tweet estimated that “at least 87” people had died with “many more injured.”
Despite the catastrophic number of deaths and injuries, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez had glowing words for the “extraordinary work” addressing what he called “an attack on the territorial integrity of our country.”
Melilla is one of the European Union’s only two land borders with Africa.
The African Union is leading calls for an investigation into the carnage and violent response to the border crossing that the New York Times reported was successfully made by at least 130 migrants. About 2,000 total migrants tried to cross the border, and “many” of them “fell to their deaths after trying to scale the border fence, while 76 others, as well as 140 Moroccan security officers, had been injured,” the Times also reported.
A press release from the African Union Commission said Chairperson H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat expressed “deep shock and concern at the violent and degrading treatment of African migrants attempting to cross an international border from Morocco into Spain.”
The press release added: “The Chairperson calls for an immediate investigation into the matter, and reminds all countries of their obligations under international law to treat all migrants with dignity and to prioritize their safety and human rights, while refraining from the use of excessive force.”
The approximately 130 African migrants who made it to Melilla were reportedly being processed at a temporary shelter run by Spanish officials.
The violence at the Moroccan border sparked protests across Spain.
According to the United Nations, North Africans make up the majority of African immigrants in Europe.
“More than half of African migrants migrate across African countries, while around one of every four migrants has Europe as a destination region,” according to data website Statista. “Among the macro-regions, Eastern and Western Africa host the largest number of migrants, with almost 60 percent of all international migrants in Africa.”
The Africa Center for Strategic Studies found that Morocco is ranked second on a list of 16 African countries with the most migrants.
What happened on the Moroccan border this weekend is a more violent version of when Spain ordered its armed forces to expel 8,000 migrants arriving by sea a little more than a year ago. In that instance, at least 4,000 migrants were returned to Morocco, but no deaths were reported, according to the Associated Press.
“Political instability and conflict are other factors pushing sub-Saharan Africans to move,” according to data from Pew Research Center.
However, while Spain and Morocco have worked to prevent African migrants from crossing the border and seeking asylum in an effort to flee violence, the Spanish government agreed in March “to give Ukrainian refugees access to work, healthcare, financial assistance and education in Spain,” according to the Local.
Graphic Video Shows African Migrants ‘Beaten And Killed’ Trying To Cross Border Into Spain was originally published on newsone.com