Thousands Of Moroccans Swarm To Ceuta Amid Diplomatic Standoff

The Spanish authorities in Ceuta have said that they have been overwhelemed by the arrival of around 5,000 Moroccans,  including young children have arrived after having swam to enter the Spanish enclave in North Africa.

The two Spanish enclaves in North Africa, Ceuta and Melilla, are a magnet for African migrants who regularly attempt to storm the security border fences.

It appears that the Morocco has been complicit in the arrival amid a tense diplomatic standoff between Madrid and Rabat.

Moroccan border guards did nothing to stop their nationals from making the journey across the bay – though other African nationals – including many desperate sub-Saharan immigrants were turned away.

The arrivals started yesterday May 17th, and have continued today of mostly younger Moroccans  who swam or boarded inflatable boats to reach the Spanish side of the border.

The migrants were checked by Spanish Red Cross medics before being taken to a centre for deportation back to Morocco.

The arrivals come amid tensions between Madrid and Rabat over the presence in Spain of Brahim Ghali, who leads the Western Sahara independence movement, the Polisario Front.

Ghali has been undergoing treatment in Spain for COVID-19 since arriving last month.

The Polisario Front has been fighting for the independence of the Western Sahara from Morocco since the 1970´s

Morocco recently renewed diplomatic relations with Israel amid a US brokered deal in exchange for Israeli recognition of Morocco´s claim to the territory.

Neither Spain, nor any member of the European Union recognises Morocco´s claim.

The Spanish foreign minister  said she had no information as to where the arrivals are related with the present standoff.

Spain doesn’t grant Moroccans asylum status, although it does allow unaccompanied migrant children to legally remain in the country.