Call for probe of stampede in Spanish enclave
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Call for probe of stampede in Spanish enclave

The number of people killed climbing a border fence between Morocco and a Spanish enclave in North Africa has risen to 23 as human rights groups in both countries have called on authorities to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths.

According to Moroccan authorities, the people died due to a “rush” by people who tried to climb the iron fence separating the city of Melilla and Morocco.

Call for probe of Spanish enclave stampede | 7NEWS

In a statement, the Moroccan Interior Ministry said 76 civilians were injured, along with 140 Moroccan security agents.

Two members of the Moroccan security forces and 33 migrants injured while crossing the border are being treated at hospitals in the Moroccan cities of Nador and Oujda.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has condemned what he described as a “violent attack” and an “attack on Spain’s territorial integrity”.

Spanish officials said 49 vigilantes suffered minor injuries in the incident.

Mr. Sanchez said: “If anyone is responsible for everything that appears to have happened on that border, it is the mafia that is trafficking human beings.”

His comments came as the Moroccan Human Rights Association shared videos on social media that appeared to show dozens of migrants on the ground, many immobile and a few bleeding, as Moroccan security forces stood over them.

“They were left there for hours without assistance, increasing the death toll,” the human rights organization said on Twitter.

It called for a “comprehensive” investigation.

In another video from the association, a Moroccan security officer appeared to use a baton to hit a person lying on the ground.

Amnesty International has expressed its “deep concern” about the events at the border.

Esteban Beltran, director of Amnesty International Spain, said: “Although the migrants have acted violently in their attempt to enter Melilla when it comes to border control, things are not going to be all right.

“The human rights of migrants and refugees must be respected, and such situations must not happen again.”

Five human rights organizations in Morocco and APDHA, a human rights organization in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, also called for inquiries.

The International Organization for Migration and the United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR also weighed in on a statement expressing “deep sadness and concern” over what happened at the Morocco-Melilla border.

“IOM and UNHCR urge all authorities to prioritize the security of migrants and refugees, refrain from using excessive force and respect their human rights,” the organizations said.

The Spanish Commission for Refugees condemned what it described as “the indiscriminate use of force to manage migration and control borders”, expressing concern that the violence had prevented people eligible for international protection from entering Spanish soil. Reach.

A Spanish government office spokesman in Melilla said about 2,000 people had tried to cross the border fence but were stopped by the Spanish Civil Guard and Moroccan troops on either side of the border fence.

A total of 133 migrants crossed the river.