The thousands of migrants who made it out of Morocco and into the Spanish exclave of Ceuta this week wanted to head further north, to the promised land – Europe. The reasons why they made it, and why they tried, all lie to the south – Africa.
The immediate cause was the furious diplomatic row between Morocco and Spain over Madrid’s decision late last month to allow the leader of the Polisario Front (PF) to come to Spain for treatment after he contracted COVID-19. The PF has been fighting the Moroccan army in the disputed territory of Western Sahara for decades. After learning of the arrival of Brahim Ghali, 71, Rabat warned of “consequences” – we have probably just seen the first of them. There is video footage of Moroccan guards opening the border fence to allow migrants through.