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Did the group of Moroccans repatriated from Melilla really include women, children and the poor ?

The repatriation operation that brought Moroccans stranded in Melilla home was allegedly marked by irregularities. It did not include the poorest members of the Moroccan communities who are still stranded on the other side of the border.

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Moroccans repatriated on Friday, May 15, from Melilla are currently under quarantine in a hotel in Saidia, a beach near the Moroccan-Algerian border. «The reception conditions are very good. We are treated well», the head of Nador’s city council, Rafiq Moujait told Yabiladi.

«We carried out Covid-19 tests which proved negative for all returnees with the exception of one case that showed no symptoms. We are impatiently awaiting a second test», he added.

Moujait did not reveal the exact number of Moroccans repatriated to the Kingdom. However, he acknowledged that some «people on the list refused to return. They live in their homes in Melilla and have refused to be quarantined in a hotel». These people indeed have Spanish residence cards and some of them are even dual nationals, with Spanish citizenship. The idea of being quarantined therefore made them change their minds although they had first requested to return.

A source close to the file told Yabiladi that the list included «200 Moroccans and it was sent to the delegation of the Spanish government in Melilla». «150 of them were repatriated during two operations : The first, which was carried out in front of cameras Friday May 15, allowed the return of 125 people», the same source added. 

«The second one took place on Saturday, May 17. Two coaches were sent to transport the rest of the group. After several hours of waiting, only 25 people agreed to return to Nador. As a result, 50 people preferred to stay in Melilla while the highest priority cases, women and the elderly, are still stranded in the city in precarious conditions», the same source explained.

Vulnerable Moroccans are still stranded in Melilla

The president of Nador’s city council Rafiq Moujait told Yabiladi that the list of Moroccans stranded in Melilla, demanding repatriation was «put together in coordination with the prefecture of Nador».

But said list was refused by the families of those still stranded in Melilla. «In Beni Nsar and Nador, anger is mounting in the ranks of the families concerned. They referred to irregularities in the repatriation process», a local source told Yabiladi. 

The impatience of the families was put to the test when they learned that the second phase of the return did not take place on Saturday as planned. «No new list has been sent to the Spanish authorities», the same source added.

Rafiq Moujait, meanwhile, could not give a specific date regarding the return of the rest of the group. «This is the responsibility of the authorities. Maybe they want to make sure first that we are not infected with the coronavirus to let us go and then proceed to accommodate the others stranded in Melilla in the same hotel», he said.   

But this explanation regarding the timing of the repatriation operation is weakened by the preparation of several reception sites planned in Nador and Selouane in addition to the hotel in Saïdia.

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