Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Tensions in Tangiers after migrants die in police raids  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 20/12/2013
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - AFP) In the poor Tangiers suburb of Boukhalef, cramped apartment blocks house hundreds of sub-Saharan migrants dreaming of reaching Europe, but tragedy has turned it into a flashpoint for racial tensions in Morocco.

During a police raid earlier this month, a young Cameroonian called Cedric was chased onto the roof of one of the four-storey buildings and then fell to his death.

It was the second such death in two months, after a Senegalese man fell from his fourth-floor flat in October during another police raid.

The raids came despite a promise from the government of a new immigration policy to address concerns expressed by King Mohamed VI about the treatment of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa.

After the second incident, angry fellow migrants carried the Cameroonian's body through Boukhalef's streets protesting police "crimes" against their ranks.

Four days later, some 100 Moroccan residents staged a counter-demonstration under the gaze of police, chanting: "We are not racist, but we don't want blacks living here."

A former flatmate of Cedric, another Carmeroonian named Telly, said he and his friends were surprised and upset by the rising hostility.

"It's the first time this has happened. And we are really afraid now because we don't know what to expect," the 23-year-old said.

"We feel the police are trying to chase us out of Tangiers," a city that lies only a short boat trip from the southern tip of Spain.

Boubker el-Khamlichi of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights blasted the treatment of the migrants as "savage". He charged that it was a deliberate bid -- with backing from Europe -- to deter them from attempting the crossing.

"It's a policy. It really is a way of pressuring the migrants to leave voluntarily. Europe is giving money to Morocco to play the role of policeman," Khamlichi said.

"We don't know whether or not Cedric was thrown by the police. But the reality is, there have been three deaths as a result of raids by the police. They are responsible."

Tangiers police chief Abdellah Belahfid declined to comment on Cedric's death, saying the public prosecutor had ordered an inquiry.

But he denied his force was bowing to any European pressure to stop the flow of illegal migrants.

"The raids are a part of routine police operations, because among the immigrants there are networks involved in the trafficking of hard drugs," Belahfid told AFP.

In November, the government said that an "exceptional operation" would take place in the new year to sort out the status of some of the tens of thousands of sub-Saharans residing illegally in Morocco.

But the country is clearly struggling to cope with the tide of migrants hoping for a better life in Europe, most of whom arrive in Morocco through neighbouring Algeria.

In the first week of December alone, more than 200 migrants were arrested as they boarded boats along the Tangiers coast in their bid to reach Spanish soil, state media reported.

Rights activists say that to thwart attempted crossings, authorities have rounded up hundreds of migrants, sometimes violently, and bussed them hundreds of kilometres (miles) farther south to Rabat or Casablanca.

On a single day last week, 200 migrants picked up from Tangiers or nearby Nador were dumped on the streets of the capital Rabat, said Hicham Rachidi, founder of migrant support group GADEM.

Some had serious injuries sustained during the police operations, he told AFP.

"They drop them off next to the police headquarters, and tell them to go and ask the NGOs for help."

Rachidi called for urgent implementation of the government's promised immigration changes.

"We need a new approach, a new mentality and new officials, or a retraining of the officials who applied the old policies," he said.

"There are 65,000 members of the auxiliary forces. When you leave people like that to just round up illegal immigrants, without training, guidance or procedures, it's difficult to avoid abuses."

Other incidents have fuelled the fears of sub-Saharan migrants. Activists say a Congolese resident of Tangiers died in July after a police officer pushed him from a bus as he was being deported to the Algerian border.

And in August a Senegalese man was stabbed to death at the central bus station in Rabat.

In Boukhalef, meanwhile, dozens of migrants -- unable to work without any official status -- bide their time in the streets under the suspicious gaze of Moroccan residents.

"I left my country because of dictatorship," says Ibrahima, 36, from Gambia.

"For more than a year I have been waiting for refugee status. Without it, how can I survive?"

"If I go and ask for a job on that building site, they want to see my residency permit," he adds, pointing to a mosque under construction across the street.


 


AFP




  MENA News Headlines
 Nov 26 2014 - Kuwait's Mabanee to invest USD910m on projectMENAFN
(MENAFN) Mabanee, the Kuwaiti real estate firm, announced it is planning to spend USD910 million on building the fourth phase of its development of The Avenues mall, Arabian Business reported.The ...

 Nov 26 2014 - Oman's Sezad, OOC sign MoU on Duqm refineryMENAFN
(MENAFN) The Special Economic Zone Authority of Duqm (Sezad) announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Oman Oil Company (OOC) regarding construction work on the planned refinery ...

 Nov 26 2014 - Emirates Airlines adds new flight to Maldives routeMENAFN
(MENAFN) Dubai's Emirates Airline announced it has added a third daily service to Mal", the capital of the Maldives, which will begin servicing passengers on December 1, Arabian Business reported.The ...

 Nov 26 2014 - Abu Dhabi Int'l passenger traffic up 17 percent in OctoberMENAFN
(MENAFN) Abu Dhabi International Airport announced that it registered an increase by 17 percent in its passenger in October, Arabian Business reported.The airport said that it has registered a total ...

 Nov 26 2014 - Oman's Rolls-Royce sales grow 46 percent in Jan.-Oct.MENAFN
(MENAFN) Rolls-Royce Motors announced it has registered an increase in its sales in Oman by 46 percent during the January-October period, compared to the same period last year, Times of Oman ...

 Nov 26 2014 - GCC petrochemical industry to decline on falling oil pricesMENAFN
(MENAFN) Gulf countries' petrochemical industry is expected to begin facing challenges due to the falling of oil prices, US shale gas and China's polyethylene, Khaleej Times reported.These factors ...

 Nov 26 2014 - Syrian economy decline 40 percentMENAFN
(MENAFN) According to the Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Syria's economy has declined by almost 40 percent since 2011, due to the effects of the ...

 Nov 26 2014 - Qatar to invest USD43.62b on railways infrastructureMENAFN
Qatar's Ministry of Transportation announced it is currently working on the development of advanced transport infrastructure in the country, with several projects currently in the planning stages or ...

 Nov 26 2014 - Dubai's Kcal to expand to EgyptMENAFN
(MENAFN) Kcal, the Dubai-based restaurant chain announced it is planning to expand its business in the MENA region with its first store slated to open in Egypt by December this year, followed by 14 ...

 Nov 26 2014 - MENA's value of M&A deals hit USD9.3b in Q3MENAFN
(MENAFN) The Middle East and North Africa's (MENA) merger and acquisition activity increased by 17 percent during the July-September period of this year, with 109 deals announced compared with 93 ...

more...


 






Google

Click to Apply

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help