The world woke up shocked by the images worthy of being a movie: Some 9,000 migrants, mostly from Africa, swam to Spain’s Ceuta in just one day.
a Record Includes 1500 minorsThat appeared between midnight and dawn also by road From neighboring MoroccoIn the context of the growing diplomatic tensions between Rabat and Madrid.
Official sources confirm that, In just 24 hours, “no fewer than 9,000” Moroccan citizens arrived irregularly To the autonomous city of Ceuta bordering the sea breakwater Taragal and Benz.
Ceuta On the African shore of the Strait of Gibraltar, And with Melilla -Also under Spanish administration- it is The only land border of the European Union (EU) with the Black Continent. For this reason, they are usually the entry point for illegal immigrants looking for a better life.
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Minors do not ExpeditiouslyWhere the Spanish authorities hope to be able to agree with Morocco with regard to adults, Just like it happened at the end of the last week of AprilWhen more than 100 people from the neighboring country appeared on the Spanish soil in the same way.
Faced with a “tsunami of illegal immigrants”, the Spanish government decided to mobilize the army, Specifically to the legionary and regular units, to Strengthening border control From Ceuta with Beaches guarded by armored vehicles.
In addition, the security forces are responsible for the logistical process for “The group of migrants was scattered together and the return process would be speeded up In implementation of the 1992 agreement with Morocco. ”
“It is a serious crisis for EuropeSpanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said. Both countries are giving diplomatic signals of a desire to defuse a potentially tense situation.
“I want to relocate all the Spanish men and women residing in Ceuta who Let’s restore order In his city and at the border at full speed, “Sanchez said on his visit to the place.
Where is Ceuta?
Cities Ceuta and Melilla It is located on the Mediterranean Sea Only European lands on African lands, So The land border between the two continents. The cities under Spanish sovereignty are located in northern Morocco 380 kilometers from each other.
Ceuta has a double barbed wire fence, 8 km long It was built in 1999, and improved in 2005 by adding 3 to 6 meters in height (depending on section) and in 2020 work began to lift it another 10 meters in some parts. The whole tour is for her Infrared cameras and locations with armed soldiers. Meanwhile, the 12-kilometer border fence is being reconfigured in Melilla.
Both regions They were conquered by the Catholic Kings As outposts after the expulsion of Moors and Jews from Spain in 1492. Madrid had sovereignty over Melilla since 1496 and over Ceuta since 1580.
Ceuta has a population of 84,000 in less than 20 square kilometers, And an area of about 50 km. From Tangiers opposite Gibraltar. For its part, Melilla has an area of only 12.5 square kilometers, and it is 150 kilometers from Algeria, where 87 thousand people live, half of them are Muslims.
Why did so many Moroccans arrive?
The arrival of migrants to the enclave of Ceuta is taking place in a context Tension between Madrid and Rabat due to the presence of the leader of the Western Sharia independence movement in Spain, Brahim Ghali.
The Moroccan government was furious to find out The head of the Polisario Front has been admitted to a Spanish hospital since mid-April to receive treatment because he has Covid-19.
The Polisario, with the support of Algeria, is fighting for the independence of the republic It legalized Occidental, a former Spanish colony predominantly controlled by Morocco, Which proposes at the most independent under its sovereignty.
However, this is suspected This massive access “comes within the framework of the extortion strategy” of the Kingdom of Morocco To “pressure” the Pedro Sanchez government as well as the European Union to address its historic claim “The restoration of Ceuta and Melilla”.
Since its independence Morocco He defends the “Moroccan” of the two cities. It even formally petitioned the United Nations for their return when they attained the status of independent cities. Port cities, The hub of a thriving trade between Europe and Africa, which the Rabat government classifies as a “colonial presidency”.
However, It was not included in the list of territories awaiting decolonization, Given that both places were Spanish without interruption for centuries before Morocco existed as a political entity and even before the foundation of the current Alau dynasty in 1631.