Spain and Morocco evict illegals

2012-09-04 22:12
Some 70 illegal immigrants reached the tiny uninhabited island of Isla de Tierra off Morocco. (Alvaro Barrientos, AP/File)

Some 70 illegal immigrants reached the tiny uninhabited island of Isla de Tierra off Morocco. (Alvaro Barrientos, AP/File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Spain
    Take a trip to Spain with the ultimate guidebook. Now R444.00
    buy now

Al-Hoceima - Spanish and Moroccan security forces launched a night operation lasting into the early hours on Tuesday to evict 73 illegal migrants from a tiny islet just off Morocco, officials said.

Spain's Guardia Civil police acted after scores of African migrants landed in the past week on the bare, rocky surface of Isla de Tierra, Spanish sovereign territory about the size of two football pitches, which lies an easy swim off the beach.

Ten women and children were taken off the islet to the Spanish territory of Melilla. "The others were removed at dawn," a spokesperson for the Guardia Civil said, adding that the operation was carried out "jointly" by Spain and Morocco "without any incident".

"We removed [the migrants] from the island because it was dangerous for them to stay there," he added.

Since the uninhabited rock is Spanish, Madrid feared it could open a new doorway to migrants, many of them fleeing poverty and unrest, who are desperate to reach Europe.

A Spanish interior ministry spokesperson said the Guardia Civil evicted the migrants when sea conditions had calmed, and that the operation was completed at 04:30  (02:30 GMT).

"Many of the immigrants did not want to go Morocco, but there was no need to use force nor any troubles," the spokesperson said.

By early afternoon on Tuesday, there were no traces of the emergency intervention, according to an AFP photographer at the scene.

Beyond the last summer holiday-makers, just two Moroccan policemen were posted on the beach, their tent nearby, while the low tide made the island reachable by foot.

Guardia Civil

Melilla and Ceuta are two tiny Spanish exclaves in Morocco, the only land frontier between Africa and Europe.

Rabat considers the territories, held by Spain since 1580 and 1496, to be "occupied". Madrid refuses any discussion on the subject, which regularly poisons relations between the two nations.

But bilateral co-operation, especially over the problem of immigration, is unavoidable, as the interior ministry spokesperson acknowledged.

"The eviction was handled entirely by the Guardia Civil but obviously together with Morocco because the Guardia Civil handed the immigrants over to their Moroccan counterparts," he said.

"The object is not so much to have to act like this but to avoid more immigrants arriving on Spanish rocks," he said.

Photographs in the online editions of Spanish dailies El Pais and El Mundo showed Guardia Civil apparently ferrying the immigrants to land by dinghy.

Migrants, some in handcuffs, were shown in the hands of police as they waded the final few metres to the beach to waiting Moroccan security forces.

In Rabat, Moroccan authorities said two migrants had been lightly injured in the operation.

70 sub-Saharan migrants

An official of the Moroccan security forces said some 70 sub-Saharan migrants had been sent back to Morocco and "taken charge of" by the security forces.

According to the official, the migrants had crossed into Morocco from Algeria and would be expelled.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said on Monday that he was convinced the migrants' arrival on the islet was co-ordinated by "mafia who traffic human beings".

The stakes are high for Spain and the European Union, with hundreds of people frequently trying to enter Ceuta and Melilla by force.

Spanish authorities said Morocco's King Mohammed VI played a decisive role in agreeing to help deal with the migrants, and they hoped for further co-operation to prevent any repetition.

"The joint response of the Spanish and Moroccan governments, and the European Union, is to say 'That's enough' to those who traffic human beings, endangering the lives of the most vulnerable like pregnant women and young children," the Spanish prefect in Melilla, Abdelmalik El Barkani, told Spanish public radio.

Read more on:    spain  |  morocco  |  migrants  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Movies
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Kuils River - 13:30 PM
    Road name: Nooiensfontein Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Van Riebeeck Avenue
  • Wednesday Milnerton - 13:26 PM
    Road name: Koeberg Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Racecourse Road - expect delays
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9380

The first BlackBerry Curve smartphone with a touch screen Stay connected...

From R1799.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is always easier to look out and see what needs changing. Looking in is a lot harder... Today you may need to look at what...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.