Man falls to death in Morocco cop raid

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Rabat -

A Cameroonian immigrant plunged to his death when police raided his fourth-floor apartment in Tangiers, raising tensions in the Moroccan city after a similar death in October, activists said on Thursday.

Backup forces entered the Cameroonian's apartment on Wednesday afternoon, in the suburb of Boukhalef, and he fell from the roof of the building shortly afterwards, rights activist Boubker El Khamlichi told AFP by phone from Tangiers.

Hundreds of immigrants then marched towards the police headquarters in the northern city, carrying the victim's body, to protest “crimes” against them.

The official MAP news agency said members of the security forces arriving at the scene were pelted with stones Ä and two injured Ä by “illegal immigrants wanting to exploit the incident, by improvising a march in the form of a funeral procession”.

It did not give the identity of the victim or say how he died.

Khamlichi, a lawyer who coordinates a network of human rights associations known as Shabaka, said the Cameroonian who died was about 18 years old and gave only his first name, Cedrick.

“We don't know if he jumped or was pushed. There needs to be an inquiry into what happened. But the inquiries carried out by the authorities are compromised,” he added.

Moroccan NGO Gadem, which campaigns for the rights of immigrants, said the police who carried out the raid immediately left the area after the incident.

Moroccan security forces have come under fire in for their treatment of illegal migrants, amid rising fears among the estimated 20 000 sub-Saharans residing in the country of racist violence, including by the authorities.

In October, a Senegalese immigrant fell to his death in Tangiers after police raided his fourth-floor apartment and beat him, according to witnesses, with the authorities calling the fall “accidental”.

In late July, a Congolese university professor living in Tangiers reportedly died after a police officer pushed him from a bus deporting him to the Algerian border.

Morocco is the closest African country to mainland Europe, and is one of the key smuggling routes for illegal migrants seeking to cross the Mediterranean.

Rabat announced a new immigration policy in September, pledging to individually review cases according to specific criteria, after King Mohamed VI voiced concerns about the treatment of sub-Saharan Africans in the country. - Sapa-AFP


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