“I don’t know anything about my brother”





The telephone rings. Ali he picks it up, apologizes to us, but he has to attend, he can’t leave that call unanswered. She stares at the screen in silence. She has no words of comfort for those who since They haven’t heard from their children for a week.

From Nador, this young Sudanese tries to find out the fate of the disappeared migrants when they tried to cross to Melilla last Friday. His cell phone rings constantly. Alone, he listens to the sobs on the other side of the line, receives the calls and messages that the authorities do not answer. No one gives explanations or possible clues. Meanwhile, photographs of dozens of kids whose smiles have been blurred by the despair of reaching Europe.

He decides to take the call with the attitude of someone preparing for something difficult. Picking up the phone is not a problem, your dilemma is not have any good news for your interlocutor. They greet each other in Arabic. Repeat several times’hamdulilah’ either Thanks god. A week later there is no bad news, but not good news either. The your brother’s name is not on the liststill incomplete, of the deaths of the fateful Friday, June 24, when the Moroccan gendarmerie charged the African migrants who tried to cross the Melilla fence.

khaled He hasn’t known where his brother is for a week. From France, where he lives, he calls Ali several times a day. They were neighbors of the same small village of Sudan. Now, in the distance, he is the only person she can trust to find her. Mohammed Salehhis 28-year-old brother who had left his country less than a year ago.

Ali does all the errands from a room she hasn’t left for a week. Don’t you dare. It will remain hidden until everything calms down. These days, from the loneliness of a room that serves as his refuge, he has no company other than his mobile phone, which he uses to help comfort the relatives of the disappeared. “Two families have found their children,” he says with a smile. This third one still doesn’t know where she is.

Mohamed Saleh first arrived in Libya, but he did not delay knowing that he could not risk being trapped, being the father of two children aged two and four. “He left to give them a better future. Libya seemed too dangerous to him, but we are seeing that Morocco is too, ”he says on the other side. “We never imagined that it would disappear crossing the Melilla fence”he assures.

Ali explains that The identities of those who have died have not yet been released.. There is only the list of detainees, as confirmed and made public by the Moroccan Association for Human Rights in Nador. “I haven’t heard from him in a week.”

Have been hundreds of people, about 133 managed to cross into Spainmany have been injured and even 27 have died according to official Moroccan sources -37 calculated by the NGOs on the ground-.

“I will look for him among the living”

“I will look for him among the living”, he affirms forcefully from France. She is with the older brother. They have the speaker on and listen carefully to Ali’s words. They have deposited every glimmer of hope that there is no bad news.

East friend who is in Nador remains hidden until everything calms down, because now he does not dare to go out into the street. These days, from the loneliness of a room that serves as her refuge, she has no company other than her mobile phone, which she uses to help comfort the relatives of the disappeared. “Two families have found their children,” she says with a smile. This third she still doesn’t know where she is.

“Everything has been so fast; there has been a hunt for black people who do not have papers. All have been transferred to more distant cities such as Marrakesh, Casablanca or Rabat”.

Sub-Saharan people are no longer seen on the streets of Nador. The Mount Gurugú has been swept away. The local NGOs explain to us that, since March, the authorities have carried out raids to prevent them from staying in the area. In fact, after the attempt to jump the fence, despite the injuries and violence that ensued, they were taken by bus to other parts of the country.

Mohammed Saleh He lived in Oujda and since Friday they don’t know if he is alive or dead. “They usually take away their cell phones, but even so they would have called us”, affects his brother Khaled. He asks us what he can do to get information. “What can families do from a distance?”

He would be willing to travel to Morocco in order to find his brother. “I have documents in order in France and I work in Bordeaux,” he says proudly. In fact, he served as an inspiration for his brother. Though they haven’t had the same luck. He arrived in Libya in 2016, crossed the Mediterranean and Doctors Without Borders rescued him adrift in the Mediterranean. “He would have come here with me until he fixed his papers,” he says.

They all insist that Sudan there is a war that has been incompatible with life for years and that for that reason they have been forced to flee to seek asylum in Europe.

Khaled has not wanted to tell his mother anything so as not to worry her. “He lives in a village that doesn’t have internet, but I was aware of him,” she recalls. She says that his brother has already been expelled to the Algerian desert and that now he was willing to try again. “Is it true that there are many injured people in hospitals?” he desperately asks again.

It’s a statement, Amnesty International has denounced hot returns by the Spanish authorities and an “excessive use of force” by the Moroccan police, even when the migrants “offered no resistance”.

The survivors of the jump to the Melilla fence tell the horror that the tragedy has left

Every day that passes the uncertainty grows

Every day that passes weighs on him. As the days of last Friday recede, uncertainty grows. “we are still in shock and we ask the Sudanese who are in Morocco”, says the brother of the disappeared person.

Ali has taken on the task of supporting, even morally, the families of his colleagues. She shows a private Facebook group on her mobile in which different Sudanese families are uploading photos of their children. The Moroccan Association for Human Rights has received photos of eight disappeared persons.

“We demand that the hospital show us the bodies to compare them with the photos, but there is no way,” he denounces. Olaf Naji, the president of the AMDH in Nador. The disappearance is shared by many families. There was a large group of Sudanese among those who tried to reach Melilla The last friday.

“The media in Sudan are spreading what happened and many families are asking us”, concludes Omar. He rules out that he could have reached Melilla. “My experience taught me that when you arrive in Europe and they welcome you, the first thing they let you do is call your family”, Khaled is convinced.

Ali has already asked those who are in Melilla and they assure him that he is not among them. If I was hurt, I wouldn’t know anything either.. He fears that he was one of the fatalities. “How many people have died? What does Spain say?”, she asks us desperately. “The relatives will go to the end. We will fight to find them among the living.”

AMDH-Nador denounces that Morocco is preparing the burial of dead migrants no autopsy or investigation. “The fears we had have turned out to be real: this morning, the Nador authorities were preparing 21 graves in the Sidi Salem cemetery to bury some of the immigrants who died on Black Friday at the fence,” confirms the AMDH-Nador in a statement posted on Facebook.

The Moroccan police dismantled the migrant camps a day before the massive jump to the Melilla fence

Only the names of those arrested have been released.

The only list that has been released is that of the detainees. The Nador Prosecutor’s Office has charged 32 Sub-Saharans for crimes of human trafficking, kidnapping of a Moroccan agent to use him as a hostage, havoc, attack and insults against the authority.

These people were detained during the massive attempt to gain access to the autonomous city of Melilla. Among the accused is a minor. All of them were held on Monday at the disposal of the attorney general of the Court of Appeal of Nador, a border town with Melilla, who subsequently decided to place him in provisional prison. A group of 33 detainees have also appeared before the Prosecutor’s Office of the city’s court of first instance, who are accused of various common crimes.

While these families wait to know the fate of their children, many of whom have disappeared, the authorities, on both sides of the fence, seem reluctant to explain what happened that fateful daydespite the denunciation of the United Nations and the African Union, which have considered what happened as “unacceptable” and demand an independent investigation to clarify the facts. However, faced with such a bleak scenario for many families, they cling to the possibility that this possible call will still take place to inform them that they are alive.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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