Two killed at Morocco-Spain border crossing

26th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Two Moroccan woman were crushed to death as hundreds of people were crossing the border between Morocco and Spanish North African enclave of Ceuta.

Madrid – Two Moroccan women were crushed to death Monday as hundreds of people were crossing the border between Morocco and the Spanish North African enclave of Ceuta, local authorities said.

The two, aged 32 and 54, were caught up in an "avalanche" of people trying to get across the Tarajal border crossing, said the representative of Spain's central government in the territory, Jose Fernandez Chacon.

Twenty other people were injured, including nine who needed treatement in hospital, he told a news conference.

"This unfortunate accident was unavoidable. The police who guard the Tarajal crossing each day could do nothign to avoid it because they were swept up by this huge mass of humanity," Chacon said.

More than 10,000 Moroccans walk though the border crossing each day. Most are small merchants who go in to Ceuta to stock up on shampoo, food and other household wares which they sell back in Morocco for a small profit.

Moroccan border police often let them back in without paying import duties, which allows them to undercut legal imports and earn a meager living.

Spain's police union had already warned of possible security problems due by the huge numbers of people loaded with goods.

Ceuta has a population of 70,000. It is one of two North African enclaves held by Spain, the other being Melilla. Both are claimed by Morocco.

Would-be illegal immigrants have tried in the past to force their way across the border from Morocco into the Spanish enclaves.

AFP / Expatica

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