The death of over 20 migrants at a border fence between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla on Sunday, June 26 have sparked agitations with calls for investigations.

The victims reported mainly to be from Sudan were said to be migrating to seek refuge in Europe.

Reports indicate that many were beaten by Moroccan forces. Others died in a stampede.

The tragedy is said to have occurred when  about 2,000 migrants, many from Sudan, tried crossing the militarized border fence on Friday, June 24 and were met with force from both Moroccan and Spanish authorities.

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

Earlier 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 says were meant for the migrants who died in the pandemonium.

Meanwhile, African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat  has called for an “immediate investigation” following the incident.

“I express my deep shock and concern at the violent and degrading treatment of African migrants attempting to cross an international border from #Morocco into #Spain, with the ensuing violence leading to the deaths of at least 23 people and injuries to many more,” Mahamat said on Twitter.

“I call for an immediate investigation into the matter and remind all countries of their obligations under international law to treat all migrants with dignity and to prioritize their safety and human rights, while refraining from the use of excessive force,” he added.

Several non-governmental organizations released joint statements demanding a probe into the treatment of migrants.


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