With borders closed between Morocco and the Spanish enclave, swimming is the last resort for some Moroccans stranded in Ceuta.
Rabat – A group of young Moroccans attempted to swim home from Ceuta, one of Spain’s enclaves in northern Morocco, on Tuesday, April 7, at around 3:30 a.m.
Moroccan authorities detained the migrants as soon as they arrived at the Castillejos beach in the northern town of Fnideq.
The Moroccans underwent medical tests to verify they are not carrying COVID-19.
With land borders between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Ceuta closed due to the COVID-19 crisis, attempting an illegal sea crossing remains the only option for some Moroccans stranded in Ceuta.
Morocco officially closed its land borders with the Spanish enclaves on March 13 after the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland Spain reached nearly 4,000.
On March 16 and 23, a total of nine Moroccans made a similar attempt and swam back to their home country. The illegal return of the young Moroccans stems not only from homesickness but also from the fear of COVID-19.
Spain has currently confirmed over 140,000 cases of the virus, second only to the US. The European country also has the second-highest COVID-19 death toll, with nearly 14,000 deaths.