Living in the streets of Oujda and sleeping on the sidewalks, or in disused land, it is customary to find exiles, originating from Sudan and South Sudan in the Moroccan city and the surrounding towns, Berkane, Nador , Beni Ansar…
This migratory flow is explained by the laxity of the Algerian authorities who turn a blind eye to their passage to Morocco in a diplomatic context marked by tensions, let’s say, between the two countries. These migrants, mostly Sudanese or even from Chad or Mali, will have had Chad, Niger, Mali, Libya and Algeria as transit countries. Almost all of them, Sudanese, are aged between 16 and 26. They come from the cities of Khartoum, Omdurman, or the villages of Darfur. In Oujda, two groups of these migrants can be distinguished, those returning from Nador, where they were “turned back” after having tried to enter the Spanish enclave of Melilla and the other “new arrivals” arriving from Libya where a number of ‘among them have experienced Libyan prisons.
Sudanese migrants take two distinct paths to reach Morocco via Oujda. Some pass through the south of Libya, cross the Algerian desert to reach the capital Algiers, Oran before entering Morocco via Oujda while another arrival if we can dare to say it passes through Zarzis, in Tunisia and crosses Algeria. A single objective Europe via enclaves and crossings because Oujda does not mean the end of their journey because Oujda is only a step towards European exile. The statements of migrants arrested in the tragic attempt to cross Melilla, collected by the authorities, denounce the criminal networks that operate throughout their journey of 5,000 kilometers which led them from Sudan to Morocco.
The last of them and it seems the most powerful which facilitates the entry and the installation in the mountains of Nador is in Algeria. According to the emigrants themselves, once in the mountains near Nador, the Moroccan province bordering Melilla, they organize themselves into forest camps while waiting for the moment to jump the fence, in a hierarchical structure with a maximum chief and subs. -groups ordered by a dozen bosses.
In the case of the border between Sudan and Libya, they will have paid between 50 euros and 70 euros to cross it, then as the prices go up between 300 and 500 euros in Algeria, for the sole purpose of reaching Morocco. .
The transcripts of almost the majority of the statements indicate that the network in Algeria is led by a portly, tattooed 35-year-old Malian named Boss (chief), and that he is installed in full view of the Algerian authorities in a farm. from the Algerian town of Maghnia, about ten kilometers from the Moroccan border that hundreds of people waiting to pass for weeks.
Network members take them, then cross the border in groups of 30 to 40. A 20-year-old Chadian and a 19-year-old Sudanese even said they went through tunnels that connect the two sides of the border. Many migrants agree that coordination and communication between the various members of the “Boss” network takes place via messaging apps and a closed Facebook group, where they decide how and when to cross the Melilla fence. The different stages in Algeria and Morocco are told, for example, by an 18-year-old Sudanese who fled Darfur, spent a month waiting at the so-called “Boss” farm before crossing the border with 40 people.
Upon their arrival in Moroccan territory where Sudanese take them in to take them to Oujda, from where they were then transferred in several cars to Berkane, then to the mountains of Nador closer to Melillia. There, stripped of their documents and mobile phones, they follow a training of “guerrillas“ practically (use of weapons such as stones, sticks, hooks, sabers, knives…) and pay their accommodation (20 dhs per meal) money that they obtain by begging.
On the Spanish side, the jump towards the Melilla fence left 106 injured, 49 Civil Guard agents and 57 immigrants, three of whom had to be transferred to the regional hospital. In a police report, it is also reported the confiscation of 640 wooden sticks, 13 metal hooks fixed on wooden sticks, three medium-sized knives, a large hammer, a chain attached to a padlock and a metal bar.