Germany shocked by deaths of migrants at Morocco-Spain land border

BERLIN, Germany

Germany on Monday described the deaths of nearly two dozen migrants who were attempting to break through a border fence between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla as “shocking.”

Speaking at a press conference in Berlin, deputy government spokesman Wolfgang Buchner gave an assessment of the incident.

“It is shocking that so many people lost their lives while trying to cross the border. Over 300 are reportedly injured,” said Buchner, expressing “deep sadness” over the deaths.

He pointed out that Spain announced that the incident will be clarified, noting this is important and Berlin welcomes this.

German Interior Ministry spokesman Maximilian Kall, who attended the meeting, said Interior Minister Nancy Faeser was shaken by what happened.

“We expect the relevant councils and the EU councils to clarify this,” he added.

Around 2,000 migrants, many from Sudan, tried to cross the militarized border fence Friday and were met with force from both Moroccan and Spanish authorities.

Initial reports indicated five dead, but Moroccan authorities later raised the figure to 23. Helena Maleno Garzon, head of the non-governmental organization Walking Borders, said at least 37 people lost their lives.

On Sunday, the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) published an image showing authorities from the North African country digging around 20 graves which the organization said were meant for the migrants who died in the pandemonium.

On Saturday, several non-governmental organizations released a joint statement demanding a probe into the treatment of the migrants during their attempt to cross the border. The AMDH specifically pleaded against burying the bodies without an investigation.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez applauded Spanish and Moroccan collaboration on the border, saying the mass migration attempt was “well resolved.”

*Writing by Seda Sevencan

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