European Fortress

Beni-Enzar, Morocco, 28-06-2008: Arabic inscription on a wall of the Beni Enzar arbour that means “Burning to Almería”. For the sub-saharans who opt to use the illegal emigration land route through Oujda (Morocco) and the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, their final goal it’s to cross, as fast as possible, the Mediterranean sea and arrive at the city of Almería, in the south coast of Spain.
Gurugú Mount, Nador Province, Morocco, 29-06-2008: Old Spanish Fort. One of the actual routes of the sub-Saharan illegal emigration passes through Oujda, Moroccan city that borders with Argelia. Is in this area that the high voltage power lines enter into Morocco territory in direction of the Gurugú Mount, passing close by the old Spanish Fort and then to Nador City. In the Fort, there are two gsm antennas of the Morocco network, in one of them there is a red light for air control. The would be emigrants that still choose this route, on the arrival at Oujda, most of the times, don’t have any money to pay the transport to Nador so, they are told to follow the power line for about 100 Km until they reach the red light from where they can see Melilla city.
Gurugú Mount, Nador Province, Morocco,29-06-2008: General view of Melilla from the top of Gurugú Mount. Melilla is one of the Spanish enclave cities on Africa’s Mediterranean coast. The Moroccans consider it an occupied territory. Is a city surrounded by an eleven kilometres barrier that includes an open trench in the ground and a triple fence with 6 metres high with barbed and razor wire and observation posts distributed regularly in the Moroccan and Spanish sides.
Beni-Enzar, Morocco, 29-06-2008: Border perimeter between Morocco and Spain, near the Beni-Enzar border.
Beni-Enzar, Morocco, 26-06-2008: A trucker looks for underground emigrants in is cargo before enter into Beni-Enzar border. The restricted area of Beni-Enzar harbour is under a complete surveillance by private security companies, the about 500 meters of sea that is between the Moroccan harbour and the Spanish harbour of Melilla are patrolled by the Spanish Navy. Apart from organised group attacks or attempts to hide in a lorry going across the Beni-Enzar border, there are other ways of crossing the border fence, the illegal emigrants can pay a trafficker to get them on board a high speed boat used for drugs traffic and travel for the south coast of Spain, it costs ten thousand euros, or they can pay for a car to be adapted, for a hiding place to be built inside the vehicle and try to get through undetected, it costs around two thousand euros.
Beni-Enzar, Morocco, 25-06-2008: a car of The Moroccan Royal Gendarmerie passing through Beni-Enzar border. In July 22, around 4.30 am, a group of 70 sub-Saharan emigrants launched an attack on the Beni-Enzar border. They gathered in silence in the narrow alleyways parallel to the border road and charged across the Moroccan border en masse, armed with sticks and stones, the few polices officers on duty of the Moroccan Royal Gendarmerie were unable to stop the group. As the sub-Saharans emigrants neared the Spanish border, the Civil Guard and National Police Corps officers tried to closed the border gates and retreat the border perimeter 50 meters but the illegals made it through to Melilla, a few hours later, most had been detained and send back to Moroccan territory. The next day, during the match between Spain and Italy for the Euro/08, another group of some 30 to 40 sub-Saharan emigrants undertook another attempt to breach the border but they were halted immediately by the Royal Moroccan Police Gendarmerie and arrested. The Spanish police stated that 6 officers were injured, 6 sub-Saharans enter into the CETI (Centre of Temporary Stay of Immigrants) and 50 were expelled to Morocco and that the Civilian Guards are still working to locate about 20 that still are in Melilla. The Moroccan authorities stated that 7 immigrants checked injured into the El-Hassani Hospital, in Nador, and the others are arrested at the Central Police Commissioner waiting for the deportation order to Algeria.
Eboyadan Mount, Gurugú, Nador Province, Morocco, 28-06-2008: Interior patio of one abandoned house occupied by three Nigerian refugees.
Eboyadan Mount, Gurugú, Nador Province, Morocco, 28-06-2008: Solomon Nhamdi Okeke (L),35 years old, a mechanic from Anambra State in Nigeria, arrived in Nador in 2001, Emma O. (C),25 years old, from Edu State in Nigeria, aluminium assembly worker , arrived in Nador in 2003, Sondoy C. W. (R), 28 years old, a driver from Lagos State in Nigeria; arrived in Nador in 2003, resting in one of the rooms of an abandoned house in the Eboyadan Mount.The three Nigerians refugees shared the house before the increase of the pressure by the Moroccan forces on the illegal emigrants in the Province of Nador as a consequence of the latest border attacks. They claim not to have been involved in the latest assaults on the Beni-Enzar border but admit to having assaulted “La Valla” in 2005 and have retreated back to the mountains because of the injuries they had suffered. Before the last attacks to the border they were sleeping all together in that division of the house, in Emma’s O. room, increasing the chances that one of them would wake up with the noise of the Morocco Royal police 4×4 cars and warn the others to run towards the very dense forest. Nowadays they go to the house in the morning, at different hours, to check if their belongings haven’t been stolen by thief’s, always, controlling all the movement of people around the house wile they prepare something to eat, if there is any food, and run back into the forest were they sleep on top of the trees. There it’s easier to get food and water. The displacement down the mountain to the suburban neighbourhoods of Nador is very dangerous. Sometimes they get help from the shepherds that during the day use the area near the house to feed they’re animals.
Eboyadan Mount, Gurugú, Nador Province, Morocco, 28-06-2008: Division of an abandoned house occupied by Nigerians refugees before the increase of the pressure by the Moroccan forces on the illegal emigrants in the Province of Nador as a consequence of the latest border attacks, that room was used to sleep by Solomon Nhamdi Okeke.
Eboyadan Mount, Gurugú, Nador Province, Morocco, 28-06-2008: Asylum-request certificate from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the floor of an abandoned house occupied by 3 Nigerians refugees. This certificate belongs to Solomon’s Nhamdi Okeke, 36 year, old brother, Ekene Emma Obi, who was deported to Oujda some days and handed over to the Algerian authorities.
Eboyadan Mount, Gurugú, Nador Province, Morocco, 28-06-2008: Solomon Nhamdi Okeke (L),35 years old, a mechanic from Anambra State in Nigeria, arrived in Nador in 2001, in one of the rooms of an abandoned house in the Eboyadan Mount. Solomon it’s at a dead end. The European Fortress is completely cut off. Lack of money and shame mean he can’t go back to Nigeria.
Beni-Enzar, Morocco, 29-06-2008: Three-dimensional fence between Morocco and Spain, near the Beni-Enzar border. The first fence has a ten-degree slope on the Moroccan side, intended to prevent the use of improvised ladders. At ground level, between the first and second fences, is a mesh of steel cables, intended to immobilise and halt the progress of anyone who might succeed in breaching the first barrier. Between the second and third fence is a corridor used for Spanish police patrols and para-medical teams. The fence is equipped with sensors to detect movement and sound, and a video-surveillance system connected to a control centre. The alarm goes on if anyone leans against the first fence, and powerful spotlights are activated to dazzle any intruders. A system of water and pepper cannons immediately becomes operational. The Spanish authorities consider this new structure less damaging than the old one, retaining an intruder in a slow and not traumatic way. According to some Ngo’s all attempts to break the barrier resulted in serious injuries and deaths.
Melilla, Spain, 30-06-2008: sub-Saharans emigrants, getting out of the “Short Stay Immigration Centre” of Melilla, this is an establishment of the Spanish Public Administration that provides immigrants or asylum-seekers with various services: social services, psychological support, health care, legal assistance, employment training, leisure and recreation as long as they comply with the rules of the CETI and its operating hours, beneficiaries may move around Melilla freely. The CETI is known among the beneficiaries as “L’Hôtel”.
Melilla, Spain, 30-06-2008: Ali Hassando, 29 years old, mechanic from Gabon, in a shop downtown Melilla chooses photos to print and send to is family. He was arrived in Nador in 2006, had passed the border of Beni-Enzar in 2008, illegally hid underneath a truck, has been a beneficiary of the CETI “Short Stay Immigration Centre” of Melilla, for about 3 months and he is waiting for the residence permit in Melilla to be able to travel to European Continent to find work.
Beni-Enzar, Morocco, 28-06-2008: View from the jetty of Beni-Enzar harbour (restricted area) in direction of Melilla harbour and European Continent.