Friday, September 30, 2005

TWO of five Africans killed when hundreds of migrants charged a razor-wire fence while trying to cross into a Spanish enclave in Morocco had bullet wounds, indicating they were shot from the Moroccan side of the fence, according to reports yesterday.

Sources close to the Spanish investigation reportedly said bullets had passed through the side of one immigrant and through the buttock of the other.

They said the trajectory meant that they could only have been fired from Morocco. Spain ordered troops to its two enclaves in northern Morocco to bolster security and to try to ward off more waves of immigrants.
For a background on Ceuta and Melilla, see this in Slate, which is quite good even though its misses the real cause why both cities are not colonies. Daniel Engber says that "[t]he Moroccans have long contested the ownership of Ceuta and Melilla (and a number of nearby Spanish islands). To make matters more complicated, Spain has argued that it should also own the British colony at Gibraltar—which is just across the strait from Ceuta. This apparent double standard has led to some criticism of the Spanish position: Spain responds by saying that Ceuta and Melilla aren't "colonies" since Spaniards have been living there since before Morocco even existed."

But the main reason is that, unlike Gibraltar and other colonies, Ceuta and Melilla have exactly the same legal regime than mainland Spain. Colonies tend to have a different legal system -frequently as a tax haven, as The Rock itself-, whereas the two Spanish cities in Northern Africa are ruled by exactly the same set of laws than, say, Barcelona. And both cities have congressmen, senators sitting in Madrid's parliament in the same footing than congressmen and senators coming from other parts of the country. Whether the legal system is the same or not is the main trait of colonies, not whether they're adjoining another country with no physical boundary with the mainland. Otherwise it could be argued that Alaska is one!

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