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EU migrant crisis: Moroccan navy shoots at migrant boat crossing to Spain – one dead | World | News
Published On: Thu, Oct 11th, 2018

EU migrant crisis: Moroccan navy shoots at migrant boat crossing to Spain – one dead | World | News

A 16-year-old boy was shot in the shoulder after a Moroccan Royal Navy unit fired at a boat carrying more than 50 illegal immigrants to , a military source said on Wednesday.

The boy, who was only slightly wounded, was taken to a hospital in the northern city of Tangiers, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Despite warning shots, “the suspicious motorboat that was carrying 58 migrants hidden under tarpaulin made a hostile manoeuvre which significantly threatened the safety of the navy team and forced them to fire a shot to immobilise it,” the source continued.

The overnight operation to intercept the boat took place off Morocco’s Atlantic coast, near the town of Larache.

The migrants, men and women of various ages, were brought ashore and handed over to the security forces. All of them were Moroccan nationals.

The latest shooting was the second of its kind in two weeks.

On September 25, a Moroccan naval patrol fired at a “go-fast” motorboat ferrying migrants to Spain, killing a 22-year-old female student and wounding three others.

The authorities said the shooting was also in response to the boat’s “hostile manoeuvres” and said the migrants had been concealed under tarpaulin.

More than 43,000 migrants have made the crossing to Spain since the start of the year, including around 38,000 by sea, according to the UN International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Last weekend alone, some 1,800 migrants trying to reach were rescued in the Mediterranean by the Moroccan navy and Spanish coastguard.

Meanwhile, the navy said it had rescued up to 500 people stranded on boats on Tuesday and Wednesday, the official MAP news agency reported. MAP said the navy had helped 366 migrants from 15 rubber boats back to shore after they ran into trouble.

Morocco’s Royal Navy has stepped up efforts to stop boats suspected of carrying people who plan to enter the European Union illegally amid growing concerns over migrant smuggling in the Mediterranean region.

Moroccans are also trying to leave their country illegally by jumping over the razor wire fence between Morocco and the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa.

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EU migrant crisis: Moroccan navy shoots at migrant boat crossing to Spain – one dead | World | News