Photo: Mussa, a migrant from Mali who desperately wants to get to Europe, returns to his camp in the northwest of Morocco after his second failed attempt to cross into Spanish territory. Morocco 2012 © Anna Surinyach
Migrants In Morocco Stuck At A Dead End
They arrive breathless and defeated, drenched by sweat intermingled with the rain and covered with mud. They have run up Gourougou Mountain and some now limp. It was another unsuccessful attempt to get over the fence separating them from Melilla, an autonomous Spanish city on the northwestern coast of Morocco. Now it’s back to the small clutch of trees which serves as “home” for the time being.
In the nieghboring Moroccan city of Nador, in the pretty pine-covered hills and lowland forest of Gourougou, some several hundred African migrants are living in makeshift camps, awaiting the opportunity to enter Europe.
Stuck in the Alawite country, unable to move or return to their own countries, and unable to work in Morocco, they suffer constant harassment, even violence, from the Moroccan security forces trying to prevent them from jumping the fence into Spanish territory and making their way across the Straight of Gibraltar to Europe. Spain’s Guardia Civil is also involved in the harassment and expels migrants to the border with Algeria.
Morocco has become a dead end for these migrants, African men and women who look to Europe because it has to be better than what they have left behind. And better than what they are living through right now. But they do not give up.
“We’d been waiting all night in the rain, next to the fence, waiting for the chance,” said one migrant named Mussa, shivering in the November cold. “But it wasn’t until the morning that it came. It wasn’t possible, no one got over. There were more than a hundred of us. The soldiers got me on the head with a stone. About 20 got their feet caught in the barbed wire on the fence. We had to leave them there, they were getting hit.”