The Spanish public prosecutor’s office announced that it had “requested the opening of an investigation to shed light on what happened”, hours after the UN demanded an independent investigation into this tragedy, the deadliest never recorded at the borders between Morocco and the two Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, the only EU borders on the African continent.

At least 23 migrants died while 76 others were injured along with 140 police officers, according to Moroccan authorities, when some 2,000 migrants tried to cross the high chain-link fence separating Melilla from the Moroccan border town of Nador (north).

The Spanish public prosecutor’s office justified its decision by “the seriousness of the facts that have occurred, which could affect human rights and the fundamental rights of people”.

For its part, the UN called on the two countries to guarantee the holding of “an effective and independent investigation”.

“Excessive use of force is unacceptable,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

“We were shocked by the violence at the border between Nador and Melilla on Friday, which resulted in the death of dozens of migrants and asylum seekers” during an attempt to cross from Morocco to Spain”, lamented Mr. Dujarric.

“The human rights of people who migrate, including the right to seek asylum, must be fully respected,” he insisted.

-“Inhumane” treatment-

In Rabat, about fifty migrants demonstrated on Tuesday in front of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Rabat against the “inhuman” treatment inflicted by the Moroccan security forces on Friday and to demand the status of refugees, AFP noted.

“In Nador, we were beaten in an inhuman way,” Omar, a Sudanese migrant who fled “war and prison” in his country, told AFP. “We don’t feel safe here, our lives are in danger,” he added.

“June 24 is a black day. There were jostling and then the police beat many of our brothers”, testified Ahmed, an Eritrean, denouncing a “butchery”. “We want to know what happened so that we can explain it to the relatives of the deceased,” he pleaded.

“Where are the rights of refugees in Morocco?”, could be read on the placards of the protesters.

“The European Union, its member countries and Morocco are responsible for this disaster,” said the Platform of Sub-Saharan Associations and Communities in Morocco (P.ASCOMS) in a petition published on Tuesday.

The majority of new migrants flowing into Morocco come from Sudan, particularly Darfur, where a new outbreak of violence recently left hundreds dead and 50,000 displaced.

Many pass through Libya and Algeria – despite an officially closed border with Morocco – to arrive in the Cherifian kingdom.

In the midst of a crisis with Algeria, Morocco has pointed the finger at the responsibility of its neighbor in the tragedy of Melilla, according to a press release from the embassy of the kingdom in Spain obtained by AFP.

“The attackers entered through the border with Algeria, taking advantage of the country’s deliberate laxity in controlling its borders with Morocco,” accused Moroccan diplomacy.

A statement described as a “leak forward” by the Algerian diplomat in charge of the Western Sahara issue, Amar Belani, who accused Rabat of looking for “scapegoats to shirk his responsibilities”, on the Algerian news site ( ASD).