A combat vessel of the Moroccan Royal Navy, patrolling the country’s Mediterranean coast, was forced on Tuesday to open fire on a high-speed boat carrying illegal migrants after it refused to respond to its warnings and obey its orders.
The smuggling speedboat was driven by a Spaniard in the northern Moroccan waters. He refused to stop the boat’s engine and chose to ignore the warning shots leaving the Moroccan navy no choice but to act, say the local authorities.
Four migrants were wounded and taken to a hospital in M’diq-Fnideq region wherein they received necessary medical care. The Spanish smuggler was unharmed and arrested.
This incident comes just one day after Morocco’s Royal Navy and the Royal Gendarmerie foiled an illegal migration attempt to Europe from the country’s Northern Martil Beach.
As Italy closes its ports to illegal migrants, more and more are changing route to Spain. So far this year 38,852 migrants reached this European country, twice as many as the same period of 2017. More than 310 have died at sea.
The vast majority come via Morocco, which foiled 54,000 illegal migration attempts so far this year, and prevented 65,000 migrants from crossing to Spain in 2017.
In a separate case, a Spaniard, residing illegally in Morocco, and a Moroccan citizen were arrested in Tangiers by the Moroccan police.
The two people, aged 35 and 45, are suspected of running a criminal network facilitating illegal migration.