Another sign of the apocalypse. The Moorish invasion revisited.
Yahoo! News link.
MELILLA, Spain - Fanny Ibrahim's two-year odyssey began when he fled war in his native Ivory Coast and ended in this Spanish enclave on the northern edge of Africa, where five people were killed when hundreds rushed a barrier in a bid to enter Europe.
Ibrahim, a 29-year-old decorator who specializes in plaster, said Friday he spent a year in a pine forest in Morocco, peering through razor-wire fences at what he saw as his ticket to a new life.
After trying repeatedly to clamber over the fence — "I got caught many times, many times," he said — he finally made it this week as part of a human avalanche seeking entry into Melilla, a Spanish enclave surrounded by Morocco and the Mediterranean.
On Friday, Spain reinforced the borders of the enclaves, sending 500 soldiers with automatic weapons to patrol razor-wire fences a day after the fatal rush.
Hundreds of Africans on Thursday climbed dozens of ladders fashioned from tree branches and threw themselves over a double line of 10-foot-high razor-wire fences that run the entire perimeter of the enclaves. Five Africans died.
Spanish news reports Friday said the five bodies, two found in Spain and three on the Moroccan side, had gunshot wounds allegedly from bullets fired by Moroccan security forces.
The Spanish and Moroccan governments could not be immediately reached for comment Friday.
The enclaves were reported calm overnight. "Everything was quiet last night on the border," a spokesman for the Interior Ministry in Melilla told The Associated Press on Friday.
Both governments have pledged a joint investigation into the deaths.
Ibrahim pulls up his dirty pant legs to display scarred shins, ripped open by the razor wire during one failed attempt to scale two 10-foot fences. He sticks out his right hand to show a broken pinky finger, bent so badly it looks like an inverted V.
He wonders what Spain will do with him and an estimated 300 other young black men who made it into Melilla early this week in midnight dashes up and over the barriers.
"Will the Spaniards give us safe passage to the mainland and give us work papers?" he asks a reporter. They almost certainly will not.
Sad tales like Ibrahim's abound at a dusty, overcrowded holding center in Melilla where Spain is housing the immigrants while it decides what to do next.
They come from very poor countries like Mali, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger, which, unlike some African and eastern European nations, lack fast-track repatriation accords with Spain and refuse to take back people who amount to the continent's flotsam.
A fellow resident of Ivory Coast, Coulibaly N'Golo Bakamy, 21, said he left a year and a half ago because the war between government and rebel forces made life impossible and forced cancellation of two years of his university biology studies.
He's had no word of his parents since he left and does not know if they are alive. He lived in the bush outside Melilla for six months.
"You see that forest there? That's where we sleep," he says, pointing to a hill off in the distance from which an estimated 500 men made a break for it Tuesday in one of two mass flights across the border. "How can I call from there?"
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's political opponents contend the recent human waves were instigated by Morocco, which claims both Ceuta and Melilla, perhaps to put pressure on Spain at a summit on Thursday.
The opposition Popular Party says Zapatero's Socialist government is in part to blame, arguing that an amnesty it pushed through Parliament this year for thousands of undocumented foreigners is luring many other Africans in the mistaken belief they can get papers.
Spain's leading daily El Pais said in an editorial Friday that long-term solutions must be sought to address the economic disparities between Europeans and Africans, which are propelling waves of immigrants in often deadly attempts to cross the continental borders at the two enclaves.
"There is an immediate problem which has claimed eight mortal victims in a month and which demands urgent solutions," it said.
"But there is a more serious problem which can only be resolved over the long term which is the economic inequality between the African and European continents which turns the two Spanish cities in northern Africa into siphons for immigration," the paper added.
Another nasty situation in a world full of them.
Immigration is a problem. Many nations *COUGH* mexico *COUGH* are pushing people into richer nations because they can't/won't deal with their problems. The fewer people to worry about, the better, or so the thinking goes.
Developed nations are going to have to make some decisions here.
That just proves who the superior cultures and superior peoples are. You don't see Americans and Spaniards constructing makeshift ladders to throw themselves over the fence into Mexico and Africa.
I would have to ask why Spain still has those two cities in Africa - kind of their version of Gibraltar. There can't be enough economic gain to maintain these places, can there? After this story it seems like there is even less reason to keep them.
What a suprise! Black Africans shoved