Fact Check: Are Moroccans Migrating In Thousands To Spain?

Local authorities on Tuesday reported the attempted migration of up to 1200 Africans to Spain through the Spanish enclave of Melilla, on Morocco’s northern coast, just days after the most massive attempt was recorded.

The Melilla prefecture in a statement said an anti-intrusion device of the Civil Guard command detected a large group of migrants approaching the fence (of Melilla) but security forces in Morocco were able to stop a good number of them from scaling the six-metre (20-foot) fence.

Tuesday’s failed move is one of many attempts by Sub-Saharan Africans to escape the hardships in their countries for greener pastures in Europe.

On Wednesday, March 3, 2022, about 2500 migrants and refugees tried to cross the border fence separating the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco in one of the most violent attempts recorded by Moroccan security forces.

In mid-2021, up to 10,000 people swam into Ceuta or clambered over the fence at a time when Moroccan authorities appeared to loosen controls for a couple of days following a diplomatic spat between Rabat and Madrid.

Some news sources have misrepresented the migration data, with some claiming a higher number of successful migrants but are these the facts?

What Are The Facts?

Melilla and Ceuta, another Spanish territory in North Africa, are popular crossing points for illegal African migrants trying to get into Europe in the last few years.

The two cities are favoured entry points to Europe because they are European Union’s only land borders with Africa, which means that if migrants manage to cross the fence or swim to Ceuta, they have successfully migrated to Europe.

While it seems like a walkover, less than 40% of each group of migrants manage to cross the borders due to the heavy security presence at the borders, leading migrants to result to violent attacks on Moroccan security forces stationed at the borders.

For instance, out of 1200 migrants that tried to cross the fence on Tuesday, only less than 350 were able to successfully scale through.

On Wednesday, March 3, 2022, only 500 migrants managed to make the cross, leaving 2000 migrants behind.

Official data showed that the overall number of persons intercepted from crossing into Spain rose 73% to 7,319 at the end of February 2022, leaving less than 30% successful migrants.

Another important fact to note is that other African nationals are attempting to migrate through Melilla and Ceuta, not just Moroccans.

According to figures by the Interior Ministry, migratory flows to both cities by land were down 65% in the first two months of 2022, while 1,092 migrants and refugees managed to enter Melilla in 2021, a 23% drop from 2020.

Patsy Nwogu

Reporting on data-driven featured stories and investigations.

Related post