Morocco says it dismantled illegal migration network

Morocco says it dismantled illegal migration network
The Moroccan police announced the dismantling of a smuggler's network this weekend. Hundreds of migrants continue to risk the sea crossing to Spain, despite mounting fatalities.
2 min read
21 November, 2021
Migrants try to cross from Morocco into the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla or to reach Europe by sea [NurPhotos]

The Moroccan police dismantled a migrant-smuggling network in the northern region of Casablanca, local media reported on Saturday. The operation interrupted the departure of several migrants from a beach in the area of Ain Sebaa, in the suburbs of Casablanca.

The security services arrested thirteen people in the operation. Among them are suspected smugglers, but also several suspected migrants, the General Directorate of National Security announced in a statement.

The police also seized equipment including a car, a rubber boat, ten life jackets, thirteen containers filled with fuel, and money allegedly paid by the migrants for the journey.

The Moroccan coast guards regularly rescue migrants off the Moroccan coasts. Last week, they assisted over 300 migrants in difficulty at sea over the course of three days.

Most of those risking this sea route are migrants from from sub-Saharan Africa seeking to reach the European Union through Spain, which is only 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Morocco. Rather than mainland Spain, others head for the Canary Islands - a Spanish territory located a few miles off the Moroccan-controlled coast of the disputed Western Sahara - or try to cross into the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.

However, the route is a deadly trap for many. The International Organization for Migration recorded over 1,200 deaths on the route to Spain by the end of September, making 2021 the deadliest year recorded on this route so far.