While there is no official confirmation, the news would likely cause outrage among the over 31,800 Moroccans stranded abroad who are still awaiting their repatriation.
Rabat – Moroccan authorities have reportedly allowed exceptional flights to repatriate 80 executives working for the Moroccan branch of French automaker Renault who have been stranded in France and in Romania.
According to news outlet Le Desk, two special flights from Paris and Bucharest will land today, May 26, in Tangier, where Renault has two production facilities. The report, however, only cites speculations circulating on social media.
MWN attempted to contact representatives from Renault Maroc but has not yet received a response.
According to the same source, the flights carrying Renault executives landed in the Tangier Ibn Battouta Airport at approximately 6 p.m. local time, but the airport’s website only shows one arrival today from Paris, expected to land at 9:35 p.m.
However, the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport’s website announced a flight that departed to Tangier and is expected to land at 5:40 p.m. The website of the Bucharest International Airport also announced a similar flight that has already departed towards Tangier.
Renault Maroc, with two production units in Tangier and a factory in Casablanca, was among the first industrial businesses to resume operations amid the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. The automobile factories started operating on April 27.
The news about the executives’ repatriation would make sense from an economic standpoint. However, if proven true, the news would likely cause an uproar among Moroccans stranded abroad. More than 31,800 Moroccans have been awaiting repatriation for over two months.
The ongoing struggle of Moroccans stranded abroad
On social media, the news report has already started trending under the hashtags “Bring us home” and “Morocco forgot about us.”
“Today, I learned about the real value of Moroccans for the [Moroccan] state. I learned that the country prioritizes … French companies and its economy over its own sons,” wrote a Moroccan, named Rachid, on Twitter.
“Saad Eddine El Othmani, your government should give Moroccans stranded abroad and their families explanations about this Renault flight,” another tweet from a Moroccan called Zakaria, said.
Since Morocco’s suspension of international flights on May 16 to curb the spread of COVID-19, Moroccan authorities have only allowed planes to return tourists stranded in the country. To date, no plane carrying passengers was allowed to enter Morocco.
For several weeks, the Moroccan government remained unclear about commencing the repatriation of Moroccans stuck abroad, assuring that repatriation operations are in the planning stages, but failing to produce any matching tangible action.
On April 23, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita said “Moroccans have the right to come home. It’s incontestable.”
Then, on May 7, the Moroccan government reiterated the importance of rigorously preparing for the repatriation of Moroccans stranded abroad.
So far, the only repatriation operations have benefited Moroccans stranded in the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Between May 15 and May 25, Morocco repatriated nearly 1,000 Moroccans who were left in the Spanish enclaves after land borders closed.