The ordeal of migrants trying to make it to Spain

By Maria Traspaderne

Rabat, Jun 30 (EFE).- Sami’s journey has been full of pain and suffering since fleeing Sudan to Morocco, where he had an encounter with death when he tried to cross into the Spanish enclave of Melilla last week.

After seeing people die in the deadliest mass attempt ever recorded on the border between Morocco and Melilla, Sami, Mohamed, Abdullah and Moussa are now seeking help in Rabat.

They arrived in the Moroccan capital after authorities transferred them from different cities, in a move to disperse migrants across the North African country.

Today, they headed to the headquarters of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) seeking answers.

Next to the UNHCR’s door, the four boys recount the humiliation, pain and death that have accompanied them in their 5,000-km journey to Morocco, as well as what they went through on Friday trying to cross into Melilla.

From being exposed to tear gas to spending hours on the ground, they now sleep on the streets in Rabat, fixated on the goal of reaching Europe.

Sami escaped eastern Sudan and arrived in Morocco in 2020 after passing through Libya, Tunisia and Algeria.

Along the way, he spent four months in a Libyan prison.

In 2021, he broke his arm trying to climb the Ceuta fence and sustained another scar on his leg from a second attempt, which did not prevent him from trying his luck again in Melilla on Friday.

“They threw us on top of each other,” he tells Efe.

Although he says he will try again, Sami does not want to “die on the fence” because he has just fled death in Sudan.

Moussa is no longer a child. At just 13 years old, he left his hometown near Khartoum and traveled through Chad, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria before arriving in Morocco in November 2021.

He spent six months in Tripoli’s Abu Salim prison, sharing a cell with 900 people.

“They hit us,” he says.

A friend of his paid the police to get him out of prison and then, he had to pay 200 euros to cross from Algeria to Morocco, where he tried to cross into Spain for the first time on Friday.

“Someone told me by phone that there was going to be an attempt and we went to Berkane,” east of the Moroccan border town of Nador where they made it on June 17.

On the same day, Moussa walked over 80 kilometers toward the mountains where his friends were hiding.

Moussa explains: “(On Friday) we started moving at 1 am and we were walking all night until we reached the fence.

“They gassed us, threw us to the ground and beat us. We were on the ground for eight hours without water.”

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