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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 October 2005, 14:18 GMT 15:18 UK
Crossing deserts, scaling fences

Nigerian migrant Precious has scaled razor wire fences to reach the Spanish enclave of Melilla in North Africa. Without revealing his surname, he tells the BBC about his determination to reach Europe and how Moroccan police often abandoned him and other African migrants in the desert on the border with Algeria.

A pair of hands hold onto the fencing around the temporary housing area in the Spanish enclave of Melilla
Precious says he would die of shame to go home without money
The Moroccan gendarme will wait till evening when it is dark.

Then we are pushed to the Algerian side.

Sometimes - if you have a telephone or other things - the Algerians will take it, before directing us back again, saying : "This is now Morocco, you go back."

So, we go back to Morocco.

It is just a circle - a merry-go-round.

Connection men

The Moroccans are making a profit.

We call them connection men.

They can build the fences as high as they like... nobody can stop us from getting through

If you imagine about 400-500 people being deported - and you calculate that each individual pays 200 euros ($240) [to get back] - you see how much money that is.

This is going to the Moroccans in the border town of Oujda.

They are doing the connection for us to come to Rabat, Tangier or Ksar [El Kebir] - wherever our destination might be.

So you discover that getting these [migrants] and deporting them to Oujda beefs the economy of Morocco.

Beatings

Sometimes if you resist, you will be maltreated because I don't think there are human rights in this country whatsoever.

If they discover you are an illegal immigrant, they can beat you to death because you have nobody to speak for you.You are just here on your own and they have all the authority to do whatever they want.

We blacks are not protected, we are just on our own.

But they can build the fences [in Ceuta and Melilla] as high as they like, they can have as many soldiers as they like - nobody can stop us from getting through.

Sometimes [I get depressed] - but you know what, somebody that is desperate, no matter what, his goal is always in his mind.

I have a belief that I'm not wasting any time. All the time I'm wasting will be made up for.

Imagine if I go to Europe and I have a residence. I will be useful to myself and to the European community.

I don't think it would be possible to go back [to my family without money] and face them with that shame.

I think I would die.



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