Moroccan security forces are conducting an increased number of raids near the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, arresting irregular migrants and forcibly transferring them to southern Morocco. Two young migrants from sub-Saharan Africa reportedly died due to police brutality during such an operation.
An activist from the Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras, Helena Maleno, wrote on Twitter on August 15 that the body of 16-year-old Moumoune had been found in a Moroccan morgue.
Video shows two injured migrants
Moumoune had reportedly been missing since August 11, when he - along with another sub-Saharan migrant whose identity is unknown - was stopped by police in the Tangiers market, where he earned money by helping to carry shopping bags.
The other youth who was arrested with him died on August 16, after falling into a coma, according to Spanish daily eldiario.es.
A speaker for Caminando Fronteras said that Moumoune's death had been confirmed, adding that "he disappeared while they were forcibly taking him to the southern part of the country. We found his body in a Moroccan morgue.''
A video posted on social media networks shows the two youths while they were injured but still alive. One was shown handcuffed and the other was on the ground, both with head injuries.
According to eldiario.es, both migrants hailed from Mali, though activist Helena Maleno tweeted that Moumoune was from Ivory Coast.
Sweep-up operations near Ceuta and Melilla
According to eldiario.es, sweep-up operations in Morocco, with arrests and expulsions of sub-Saharan migrants from the border enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, have increased significantly since August 7, following ''the EU's promise to set aside 35 million euros for Morocco to control clandestine (migrant) flows."
Security forces have conducted searches in the mountains around the cities of Tangiers and Nador and the areas in which the clandestine migrants are living. ''Over 1,800 people have been transferred to 800 km away, in the Tizni province in the hinterland, handcuffed to another on the buses,'' the sources quoted by eldiario.es said. ''Two of the migrants were seriously injured in jumping from the bus on Sunday afternoon.''
The Hassani hospital in Nador received 60 migrant corpses in the first seven months of the year, according to a report by the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMHD) in the region. "The procedure for the recognition of corpses continues without end. Eight people have been buried in the Sidi Salen cemetery in Nador without names and 32 are still in the morgue of the hospital in the region,'' the NGO said, noting that there had not been such a large number of Moroccan auxiliary security forces in the region since 2015, with anti-riot vans and helicopters.