A ‘Bloodbath’ Leaves Many African Refugees Dead at Spain-Morocco Border

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Human rights organizations are calling for an independent investigation into the clashes that occurred at the border of Morocco and the Spanish territory of Melilla earlier last week.

Witnesses claim that 23 people were killed during the attack. “a bloodbath,”According to The Guardian.

Morocco’s Human Rights Association refuted the official death count, reporting that 27 migrants died while Walking Borders in Spain reported 37 fatalities. ABC News reported.

About 2,000 migrants, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa, attempted to cross into one of the EU’s two land borders with Africa last Friday when the migrants reportedly tried to climb fences at a checkpoint at the border, The Guardian reported.

Reports claim that authorities attacked the refugees during the melee.

“Some fell from the top of the barrier [separating the two sides],”According to The Guardian, a Moroccan official spoke out following the incident.

The Guardian reported that 140 security officers and 76 migrants were wounded during the crossing attempt.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told The Associated Press the mass crossing onto his border was a “violent assault” “an attack on the territorial integrity of Spain.”

He also blamed him for the “mafias that traffic in human beings.”

Mohamed, one of the few who were able to communicate, spoke out against the media.

“There are no mafias, we don’t have money to pay them. We organize ourselves,”He told broadcaster RTVE.

Since the tragedy, Human Rights Watch as well as  Moroccan and Spanish organizations, UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, and the African Union have all called for an inquiry.

“Video and photographs show bodies strewn on the ground in pools of blood, Moroccan security forces kicking and beating people, and Spanish Guardia Civil launching teargas at men clinging to fences,”Judith Sunderland, Human Rights Watch’s acting deputy Europe-Central Asia director, stated in a Statement. “Officials in Spain, Morocco, and the European Union should condemn this violence and ensure effective, impartial investigations to bring justice for those who lost their lives.”