Surrounded by a triple barrier 12 km long, controlled by dozens of cameras and continuous patrols, a small Spanish enclave in Moroccan territory called Melilla is – according to the Spanish government – a fortress under siege. It is a fortress wich, in recent years, has faced increasing migratory pressure that has reached, “unprecedent levels”, says Abdelmalik El Barkani, Madrid’s representative in Melilla.
Hiding in the forests of Oujda, Nador, Selouane, nearly eighty thousand migrants, mainly from sub-Saharian countries, are waiting for the right moment to slip across the frontier. By boat or in a secret compartment of a car for those who can afford it, with – the majority – trying to jump the barriers surrounding Melilla. Spain and Europe stand silently by while every week, hundreds of migrants risk their lives and the violence of the Moroccan police who beat, torture, rob and kill them. The dead can no longer be counted, nor can the wounded: refugees fleeing from wars, discrimination and violence, and economic migrants – willing to do anything to achieve their European dream – trying to build a new and better future. Every day they crash against Europe – that does not want them and rejects them – violating international laws to deport them to Morocco, a country that does not respect human rights. Meantime, Morocco is building a new barrier, a three- metre deep ditch filled with barbed wire, with part of the 50 million funding obtained by Spain from the EU (an accusation made by Spanish activists and media and never denied by Rajoy’s government).
A few kilometres from these barriers, on the slopes of mount Gurugu, in the forests overlooking Melilla nearly four thousand migrants are waiting for the right time to jump across into the Spanish enclave and enter the CETI (Centro de Estancia Temporal de Inmigrantes), a collapsing first aid structure with two thousand people already inside. Gurugu seems a circle of Hell, where migrants live in inhuman conditions. In tents made of plastic bags, without water and food, heated just by firewood collected in the bush . Hunted by the Moroccan military, they have to hide like animals in the forest, digging in the garbage to find something to eat, walking miles on slippery rocks to drink. Systematically, every two days or so, at six in the morning, the soldiers break into Gurugu, destroying tents, burning, stealing what little the migrants were able to put aside, beating them and forcing people to jump down from the crags , arresting and bringing the detainees to Rabat.