Migrants traveling from Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara to the Canary islands claim Moroccan soldiers opened fire on them, lethally injuring one, according to Reuters.
Spanish authorities have responded to the reports of violence by saying they are investigating the matter, on May 26th.
Advisor on migration to the Canary Islands, Txema Santana, spoke about the incident and stated that the group of migrants told rescuers two people were killed by the shots fired from an “anti-migration checkpoint” in Morocco on May 23rd. The head of the Morocco-based Walking Borders Helena Maleno, corroborated this story, reporting that survivors who were still in Morocco told her that the soldiers opened four rounds of fire on the departing migrant’s dinghy, hitting and killing a young Malian man.
Following the incident, the migrants continued to depart and were recovered on the night of May 24th by a Spanish patrol 12 miles south of Gran Canaria.
Despite an initial statement by a spokesperson for the Spanish government in the Canary Islands, who reported no migrants showing gun injuries, a subsequent statement from a Spanish police source indicated the treatment of a migrant in the Canary Islands due to bullet exit and injury wounds.
This situation is underscored by a tragic event from the previous year when a mass border crossing attempt between Morocco and Spain’s North African enclave of Melilla resulted in the loss of at least 23 lives, with numerous individuals injured or reported missing. In light of the such reporting discrepancies and the tragic incidents witnessed last year, it has become crucial to closely monitor the escalating employment of force by Moroccan authorities.