The attempted assault on the occupied enclave of Melilia, carried out on June 24, 2022 by a group of illegal sub-Saharan migrants, can only be described as a premeditated criminal act that reveals the aims of its instigators and those of the parties who planned its execution. The modus operandi adopted by some 2,000 migrants in their attempt to cross the metal fence separating the town of Nador and Melilia leaves no doubt as to the level of organization of this group’s members, who are supervised by human trafficking mafias. – Illegal immigration mafias operating in Morocco and Africa Morocco, which has gone from being a transit country to a host country for migrants, has for several years been the victim of the activities of these mafia-style illegal immigration networks, operating in Morocco and other African countries, that want by any means to smuggle these migrants to the other side of the Mediterranean. As reported by several national and foreign media, these are well-organized international mafia networks engaged in human trafficking, luring migrants from sub-Saharan countries to Morocco via Algeria, taking advantage of Algeria’s “deliberate laxity” in controlling its borders with the Kingdom. Smugglers based in the Kingdom’s neighboring countries organize corridors to route illegal immigrants through several countries to Algeria and then on to Morocco. It is undeniable, therefore, that this assault was ordered and orchestrated by mafia networks, whose motives no longer need to be demonstrated, and who are taking advantage of Algiers’ deliberate laxity in this field. The extreme violence of this attempt to cross the metal fence separating the town of Nador and Melilia, as well as the strategy adopted in its execution, indicate a high level of organization and a well-thought-out plan. According to several newspapers, the illegal migrants who took part in this violent assault included young people who had completed military service in their home countries and others who had mastered guerrilla warfare, infiltration and tactical organization techniques. – An unprecedentedly violent assault with tragic consequences Armed with machetes and sabres, some of the migrants did not hesitate to use them against the Moroccan security forces, several of whose members were injured in the confrontation. The National Human Rights Council (CNDH) described the incident as “unprecedented in terms of the strategy adopted, the scale and number of migrants involved, and the number of victims and injured.” In the preliminary report of the fact-finding mission commissioned by this constitutional body following this tragic event, the CNDH stated that 23 migrants died, while 217 people were injured, including 140 members of the security forces and 77 migrants. The deaths recorded were caused by mechanical asphyxia following suffocation provoked by the jostling and agglutination of a large number of victims in a hermetically sealed area (mass disaster), with the movement of a crowd in panic, said the report. The Council had also noted the emergence of a fundamental change in the attempts to cross from Nador to Melilia, linked to the form adopted, namely a sudden, well-organized assault, unusually carried out during the day, which targeted the passage and not the wire fence, and attempted to force the passage instead of climbing the fence. The attempt by hundreds of illegal migrants in June 2022 to force their way through to the occupied enclave of Melilia remains unprecedented in terms of both its modus operandi and its violence. The Moroccan security forces, who responded professionally to these incidents, succeeded in thwarting the attempted assault despite its violence, while the necessary medical care was provided and surgery performed on the injured migrants.
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