Spain maintains no one died on its territory during Melilla migrant tragedy

Madrid, Nov 30 (EFE).- Spain on Wednesday insisted that no deaths were recorded on its territory during a mass attempt by migrants to storm the border to the Spanish enclave of Melilla earlier this year in which 23 people died.

On June 24, some 23 people died in an attempt by hundreds of migrants to break through a border fence between Morocco and Melilla.

“I have said it before and I will say it again: we are talking about tragic events that took place outside our country,” Spain’s interior minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska told parliament.

The minister was addressing lawmakers hours after an investigative documentary claiming that some deaths had occurred on Spanish territory was released by the Netherlands-based NGO Lighthouse Reports, Spanish newspaper El Pais, French daily Le Monde, and German weekly magazine Der Spiegel.

Grande-Marlaska claims they are managing the tragedy with “absolute transparency”

The documentary claims that some migrants died on the Spanish side of the border after being crushed by the surging crowd and being abandoned without receiving the necessary medical care.

In his address, Marlaska stressed that “it has been clearly established that the tragedy occurred mainly in another country (Morocco),” as confirmed by the Moroccan and Spanish security forces.

Fences of the border crossing with Melilla, in Nador, Morocco, 25 June 2022, in the area of Barrio Chino where the migrants tried to cross a day earlier. EPA-EFE/Maria Traspaderne

Marlaska believes it is “irresponsible” to say that people who needed medical care were not attended to since there were “healthcare teams” during the “violent assault” by the migrants, 11 of whom were transferred to a Melilla hospital.

He pointed out that the interior ministry was managing the tragedy with “absolute transparency” and a “complete collaboration” with the investigation opened by Spain’s prosecutors and the Ombudsman’s office.

The Melilla tragedy has sparked controversy in Spain for months due to the murky circumstances surrounding it.

Lighthouse Reports launched investigations into the tragedy that lasted for four months and collected fragments of videos, images, as well as testimonies from survivors, witnesses and the Spanish Civil Guard.

Among the testimonies was that of an officer admitting for the first time that people had possibly died on the Spanish side of the border. EFE

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