The incident took place at 5 am, the women were sleeping outdoors waiting to get an access ticket to the 'Tarajal II' checkpoint.
Rabat – A porter, also known as a human mule, died around five o’clock in the morning of September 18, while waiting on the Moroccan side of the Ceuta border. She was waiting to enter Ceuta through ‘Tarajal II’.
According to El Faro de Ceuta, the incident occurred when the woman, standing on the edge of the road, fell on the breakwaters, hitting a stone. The woman died from her injuries.
“The women who knew the deceased lamented what happened,” reported the Spanish media.
Describing the porters at Tarajal II cross point, El Faro De Ceuta said, “they wait with their carts, they sleep outdoors afraid to leave their posts for other porters to take. These are third world and inhumane conditions.”
The Spanish daily pointed out that “Morocco will have to open an investigation into the facts.” Ceutaactualidad, on the other hand, reported that Morocco had already opened the investigation.
The incident has again highlighted the circumstances surrounding these women ‘mules’ who wait for long hours for a chance to get a ticket to cross the ‘Tarajal II’ border.
Previous incidents at Ceuta crossing checkpoints
Thousands of Moroccan women cross Morocco-Ceuta border posts every day to sell their merchandise in Morocco and provide for themselves. Often, they carry up to 70 kilos and are forced to make several round trips during the day to be able to make a living.
They sometimes face inhumane treatment from Spanish authorities at the crossing points. In recent years, crossing to Ceuta has caused several stampedes among porters, leading to deaths and injuries.
Three stampedes occurred in 2017. The first incident occurred in March when a woman tragically lost her life in a stampede.
The second happened in April when a 50-year-old woman died under the same circumstances. The third tragedy took place in August when two Moroccan women died while several others suffered injuries.
In June 2017, Spanish authorities agreed with the Moroccan government to prevent the so-called “human mules” from crossing through Ceuta’s El Tarajal II checkpoint on the same day.
The agreement allowed women to cross the border only on Mondays and Wednesdays, while men were allowed entrance on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
However, on January 15, 2018, another two Moroccan women died while several others suffered injuries in a stampede at one of the Ceuta’s crossing borders.
The same week, on January 22, several Moroccans were injured when another stampede broke out at the Barrio Chino crossing point in the Spanish enclave of Melilla.