Morocco accuses Spain of abandoning sick migrants

6th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Morocco on Friday accused a Spanish civil guard border patrol of abandoning eight sub-Saharan migrants off the Moroccan coast in a critical state of health.

"A patrol of the Spanish civil guard abandoned on Friday at 7:00 am (0600 GMT) off the Moroccan coast near the rural community of Belyounech eight immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa in a critical state of health," said a foreign ministry statement.

Belyounech is close to Ceuta, one of two Spanish enclaves in northern Morocco seen by would-be migrants from north and west Africa desperate to reach Europe as a potential way northwards to the continent.

On Monday, Morocco expressed its "strong indignation" after police in the other Spanish enclave, Melilla, reportedly beat up a Moroccan student.

But Spain on Tuesday denied any such incident.

According to the Moroccan authorities, the eight sub-Saharan migrants found on Friday morning were four Cameroonians, a Senegalese, a Chadian, a Ghanaian and a Gabonese man.

The foreign ministry said that the immigrants were evacuated and given emergency medical care.

It called the abandonment of the immigrants "... inhuman behavior, in complete contradiction with respect for human dignity and human rights..."

The Moroccan press has recently reported several incidents between the Spanish police and Moroccan nationals at the border posts of Ceuta and Melilla.

Rabat has always considered Ceuta and Mellila as occupied towns on its territory, but Madrid in May reaffirmed Spanish sovereignty over the two enclaves and their "Spanish character" after the Moroccan government called for a dialogue on the matter.

© 2010 AFP

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