The Zouj Beghal border post, a crossing point for corpses and irregular migrants | MoroccoLatestNews French

While the borders between Morocco and Algeria have been kept closed to all passage since 1994 through Algiers, the barriers at the Zouj Beghal border post nevertheless open for 3 occasions: To expel Moroccans, expel groups of sub-Saharan migrants to Morocco, or to repatriate the dead, as was the case on Thursday evening.

The Zouj Beghal border post on the outskirts of Oujda, between Algeria and Morocco, singularly opens its barriers to events related to the process of extradition, expulsion of migrants or even repatriation of deceased persons, with the implication Moroccan authorities (for the extradition of nationals and the dead) who each time give positive signals to demonstrate their good faith.

In November 2021, the barriers were lifted to allow the Moroccan authorities to hand over to their Algerian counterparts, 11 Algerian nationals as well as a twelfth individual of foreign nationality subject to international arrest warrants, following the request extradition presented by the Algerian justice and approved by the Moroccan.

In December 2022, the Zouj Beghal post reopened its doors to deport 34 Moroccans who were detained in the administrative prisons of the criminal authority in Algeria. Among those detained in Algerian administrative prisons who were deported were a woman, two minor children and an unaccompanied minor.

On the evening of Thursday January 26, 2023, a new exceptional opening of the borders took place with the aim of repatriating the body of a young Moroccan woman named Fouzia Bakouch. The deceased died while trying to migrate to the European Eldorado in October 2022 and was only buried this Friday in her hometown, at the Aghbal cemetery in the Ahfir region. It was thus reported that the transfer process had been delayed for administrative reasons on the Algerian side.

In addition, sources told MoroccoLatestNews that the border crossing is planning another exceptional opening, this Monday, January 30, with the aim of repatriating the bodies of three Moroccans who died in an attempt to cross irregularly to Europe.

On the other hand, it should be recalled that the number of irregular migrants from Algeria has increased significantly in recent years, particularly in the city of Oujda, which has attracted large groups of sub-Saharan and Sudanese migrants with fled Algeria or were expelled by the Algerian authorities to Morocco. The city of Oujda has thus been transformed into a temporary refuge for these migrants, who are regaining their strength to plan the crossing to the western coast.

In addition, dozens of these migrants found themselves in critical situations in the northeastern city. Sick, tired, the latter catch their breath by taking refuge in the dusty alleys under a cardboard roof or in the forests.

Numerous are at risk of dying on Morocco’s eastern borders due to the intense cold snap, which causes them serious health problems, in addition to contractions throughout the migratory journey that spans years, serious viral illnesses.

It should be noted that the Algerian authorities voluntarily neglect their role of control of the common borders in the Eastern region, by multiplying the operations of raids of irregular migrants to send them towards the Moroccan borders to flow towards the cities of Oujda, Jerada and Fakik, which prompted several human rights activist associations to take charge of their social conditions.

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