Left in the Desert: Hundreds of Refugees Arrested and Deported from Morocco
Over 250 Sub-Saharan Africans have been arrested by the Moroccan authorities in raids that took place in different quarters of Rabat on December 23rd, 2006. Among the arrested were women and children refugees and asylum seekers. Six buses, accompanied by the army, then carried them to Oujda on the Algerian borders. At about 11pm, the buses crossed the border at 3 different points and the migrants were left in the middle of nowhere [see below for details]. Blockades by the Special Police prevented supporters from Oujda to reach the deportees and their mobile phones did not work, so they could not be contacted. There are fears that these arrests are only the beginning of a mass deportation campaign to Algeria, or even into the desert, similar to what happened in September-October 2005.